Pandemic Viewing: Three Streaming Options That Offer Insight Into Epidemics

I once heard that, “to lose the blues, you gotta sing the blues.” This logic seems to apply to fear as well. To lose your fear, you gotta face your fear.

At this moment, we are all dealing with the horror of potentially contracting an incurable disease. So, instead of denying our fears, we should face them. Watching films that help us better understand epidemics might reduce our feelings of fear about them.

Here are three amazing streaming options that offer rare insights into deadly diseases and their social ramifications.

And The Band Played On (1993)

A wonderful and nuanced docudrama, And The Band Played On follows the work of Dr. Don Frances, an epidemiologist who struggles to overcome party politics and mass hysteria in the early years of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. He works tirelessly to understand and find a cure for the mysterious disease killing off vast numbers of gay men in New York and Los Angeles. As the death toll climbs, and the prejudices toward homosexuals rises with it, Dr. Frances fights on to identify and seek a cure for AIDS. (Stream it on Hulu.)

Contagion (2011)

An insightful film dealing with a deadly respiratory contagion infecting people worldwide, Contagion offers a solid introduction into the world of epidemiology. With Stephen Soderbergh at the helm as director and Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Matt Damon starring in the film, you cannot go wrong. The film studies not only the spread of an incurable contagion, but the social response to it. In the course of the film, you learn about contact tracing, rates of infection, and the operations of the CDC. A very interesting movie for anyone wanting to gain insight into deadly diseases. (Stream it on Vudu.)

Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013)

A beautiful, poignant examination of the early days of AIDS/HIV, Dallas Buyer’s Club offers insight into infectious disease spread and the cultural reaction to it. Matthew McConaughey stars in his Academy Award-winning turn as Ron Woodruff. A tough-talking cowboy, Ron contracts AIDs and is given weeks to live. But, Ron refuses to blindly accept his fate. He circumvents the medical and legal establishments to access and sell a drug cocktail that helps AIDs sufferers live longer, healthier lives. This is an amazing and insightful film. And, McConaughey’s performance is awe-inspiring. (Stream it on Netflix.)

These Films Offer Insight

These movies offer a rare peek behind the curtain of infectious disease, its spread, and its ramifications. You may find that they help alleviate the fears we are all coping with now during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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mgnoles View All →

Freelance writer with a focus on art, literature, film, acting, and mindfulness.

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