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Top 10 movies of 2012
Our favorite films of the year

By MSN Movies contributors
Special to MSN Movies

As 2012 comes to a close, we take a look at the movies that captured our hearts and the tales that kept us in tension and suspense. Here is the sixth annual list of the top 10 movies of the year, as picked by contributors to MSN Movies.

10. "How to Survive a Plague"

"How to Survive a Plague" is a documentary about the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known by its acronym ACT UP. ACT UP organized a series of protests in the late '80s and early '90s to speed up AIDS treatment drugs and educate the public on HIV transmission.

It's easy to forget that as recent as 30 years ago, HIV and AIDS were a mystery. Hundreds of gay men just started to die and no one knew why. It was a deeply frightening time.

The gift of "How to Survive a Plague" is that it takes us into this incredibly important history for the first time. The horrors of the AIDS crisis remain abstract for most of the heterosexual people who lived through it. Younger generations today, both gay and straight, have little concept of AIDS as the death sentence that it used to be.

The movie is a powerful learning tool. It weaves on the scene protest footage with interviews of prominent ACT UP members and AIDS survivors. In a bold move, director David France doesn't shy away from internal conflict within the organization. Some scenes about what the group should do next are so riveting they take on the air of a thriller.

The film is in chronological order, with some of its subjects dying along the way. By the end there are just a handful of men. Hearing their stories -- after they expected to die decades ago -- was the most powerful cinematic experience of 2012. -- Frank Paiva

Bing: More about 'How to Survive a Plague'

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(Sundance Selects)

 
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