Is “Into the Woods” an AIDS parable?

I remember seeing Into the Woods performed by my fellow students at Colby College in the early 90's.  Amazed, entertained, riveted, wowed, and wanting more was what was going through my mind as I watched one of the best plays / musicals I have seen to date.  So when one of my friends posted an article about how Into the Woods is actually an AIDS parable, I was a little confused.  How was this true?  Is this going to change my opinion of this great story when I watch the Disney movie?


 Personally, I back away from movies that involve an AIDS storyline.  I still have not watched The Normal Heart and skip over the Netflix offerings that involve the topic.  It is a fact of life for many, actually for all of us to be aware about, but if I have my choice, I'll choose something else to watch.  Does that make me a bad person? A traitor to the gay community?  I don't think so and hope not.  It's a topic I know about and yes, it does affect my community and my life, but it's a topic that I choose not to have in my entertainment.  If I choose not to watch a movie involving cancer patients, does that make me a traitor to my father who had prostate cancer or my grandmother who had breast cancer? 

I have not yet seen Disney's Into the Woods, but most definitely will, for the love of the story will pull me into the theater probably more than once.  I won't avoid this even after reading the TPM opinions page.  Take some time to go over to Ester Bloom's article at TPM Cafe and see if you agree that Into the Woods has parallels with the AIDS crisis of the late 1980's.  It's too late to block this opinion out of my mind, so I will keep it in consideration as I watch a movie I have been looking forward to seeing for many many months.



Questions …

Have you seen the movie yet?  Do you agree that it is an AIDS parable? 

Does this change your opinion of the musical? 

Was the AIDS parable as evident in Disney's take, was it missing, or was it more so present in the live performances you have seen?




4 thoughts on “Is “Into the Woods” an AIDS parable?”

  1. I saw it on New Years Eve. An

    I saw it on New Years Eve. An AIDS parable? I don't think so. I just saw it as an adult spin on fairy tales.

  2. First of all, the article is

    First of all, the article is eloquent to say the least. BUT sorry, I feel that ALL gays are morally obligated to maintain knowledge of AIDS be it by watching notable films/plays or general reading. It is in memory of the thousands who died, the thousands who currently live with AIDS and perhaps the thousands who are ignoring its threat and behaving irresponsibly.

    INTO THE WOODS, be it a "hidden" plot about AIDS or otherwise, is a film/musical that is good entertainment and should be watched as such…or not depending on one's taste. I OBJECT to the pic used as Johnny Depp is NOT the star of the film and appears in only two short scenes. Merryl Streep, James Corden (sp)? ARE the stars.

    So before you decide to blither forward, you need to know what you are writing about, however eloquent you do it. This is another example of today's "pop media" who apparently contrive a headline they believe will grab readers then add words that are meaningless.

    AIDS was/is a tragedy and continues to ravage millions, be they gay or heterosexual. It continues to be a threat and needs to be  seriously considered. But nobody wants  to read that in the "pop media" world do they?

  3. I absolutely disagree. The

    I absolutely disagree. The story is transparent that it turns the "fairy tale" genre of parents using them to direct children on its ear when children should (here the playwright does it for them) warn parents about the harms of relying on fairy tale stories to assist children as they grow up. What was lost was the late song "No More", which clarifies this.

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  5. My husband and I saw it last

    My husband and I saw it last night. I did not pick up on any AIDS parable. Then again, I'm notoriously blind to hidden meanings. I thought Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea was about fishing. 


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