Most helpful positive review
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Something I'll never forget seeing
on 13 December 2013
I've watched this on the BBC and online and will be buying this DVD. This series is by no means an easy watch, but it's not meant to be. It's the most heartbreakingly beautiful piece of TV I've seen in a very long time as well as an important piece of social history. I knew from the very first scene, which is bleak and hard hitting, that no punches would be pulled and I was right. This series stands head and shoulders above other pieces of work I've seen on the theme of HIV/AIDS. Unlike other 'offerings', it's not shmaltzy, sentimental or overly dramatic. It's honest, has some effective imagery and symbolism, but tells it like it must have been for so many people. I was only young when the first cases of AIDS came to light but vividly remember it. This series captures the time completely and shows how characters from a range of backgrounds formed a family that came through for each other when so many others didn't. You know from episode 1 that this family is going to dwindle by the end of the last episode. With many dramas like this, you'd stop watching at that point, but this series is strong enough to let you know the outcome at the very start, as it will take you on such a rollercoaster of emotions between its start and end. The characters are brilliant, in particular Benjamin and Paul. There are bits that will make you smile, like Rasmus' embarassing post-graduation ride home, the gang 'Vogueing' at the 80s disco, the wonderful Paul's sarcastic comments, and the nude sunbathing men surprising a boatful of tourists. It's also a beautiful love story. But be prepared to cry and also to feel angry. I expected to cry watching this, but some of the things that upset me were the smallest, most unexpected things - Bengt's cat, Lars-Ake struggling to help carry a coffin - proof that this is a beautifully crafted piece of television. The series would not have been possible without the books of Jonas Gardell (Love / Disease / Death), on which it is based. I really hope that these books become available in the UK as I would certainly read them. 'Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves' moved me immensely. I can't even begin to imagine how those who, like Jonas Gardell, were there through it all, must feel watching it.