Any movie addressing a subject as serious and controversial as AIDS can easily be undone by good intentions.
Luckily, As Is goes another route, refusing to embalm its characters in nobility; they’re brought vividly to life by playwright William Hoffman’s eloquently brutal script. Produced as a Broadway play in 1985, As Is was later re-created for the Showtime cable network and videocassette release. Here, a selfish writer suffering from AIDS (Carradine) confronts his nebbishy ex-lover (Hadary), who agrees to take him back ”as is.” Hadary’s act of unconditional love is in no way idealized, revealing a disturbing yet realistic sort of emotional masochism. Such gray areas give the play its nagging dimension. Unlike the public-service-announcement approach of Longtime Companion, As Is is art. A