Shortly after she gave birth to her son, Suzi Lovegrove found out that she and her baby both had AIDS.
How Suzi and her husband Vince dealt with the grim day-to-day realities of the final months of her life is the subject of "Suzi's Story," an affecting documentary that debuts on HBO tonight at 8 and runs throughout March.
A New Yorker, Suzi was working on a dance career when she met her Australian rock-manager husband in the United States. Suzi, 29, had contracted AIDS from an affair she'd had five years earlier, and when we first see her in her Australian home it is about 10 weeks before she died. Bedridden most of the time, she is gaunt and shakes uncontrollably from the effects of a virus that has attacked her brain.
Her moods swing from a feisty acceptance of her fate to dispirited gloom, but her mind is still sharp. She's full of sass and spunk and wit as she explains that she decided to let people see her in such a pitiful condition in order to educate others and to help people understand the plight of AIDS sufferers.
Made for Australia's Network Ten by executive producer Iain Gillespie, "Suzi's Story" sometimes seems more like a drama than a traditional documentary. It probably won't teach you anything about AIDS that you don't know already.
Directors Gillespie and Terry Carlyon needlessly resort to a slow-motion sequence of the Lovegrove family kissing and hugging each other. And at times the questions posed to Suzi are dumb or inappropriate, as when she's asked what advice she'd give to her son Troy about casual sex.
Any imperfections, however, are more than compensated for by an inspiring real-life story of a dying woman and the friends and family who cared for her.