Description of Film:
Jonathon Demme (Silence of the Lambs) breaks
new ground with this captivating look at AIDS
and discrimination against homosexuals in America.
Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Saving Private
Ryan) plays Andrew Beckett, a young lawyer
who works in a major law firm in Philadelphia.
Beckett is dying of AIDS but has managed to
conceal his condition and sexual orientation
from his employers. He is perceived as
one of the best lawyers in the firm. Suddenly,
however, he is terminated under false pretenses;
his employers claim that he has “an attitude
problem” and that the quality of his work
is slipping. Beckett decides to sue the
firm for wrongful dismissal. He sees nine
lawyers, all of whom refuse his case, before
meeting Joe Miller (Denzel Washington).
Miller is a small time, homophobic lawyer who
eventually takes on Beckett’s case. The
dynamic between the two characters is amazing.
Jason Robards (Magnolia) also is wonderful
as the loving boss turned hateful homophobic.
This movie is a little graphic, which is why
it has a PG-13 rating.
Philadelphia was nominated for five
Academy Awards, including the two it walked
away with: Tom Hanks for Best Actor in a lead
role and Bruce Springsteen for Best Original
Song (“Streets of Philadelphia”).
Why I Recommend This Film:
As one of the first feature films to discuss
AIDS, this movie is truly ground breaking.
Up until the mid-1980’s, no one knew that
much about AIDS. There is still no cure
for AIDS and many people die from it every year.
This picture features the personal struggle
of someone living and dying with AIDS.
The acting is superb, as is Demme’s directing.
Overall, this is an excellent movie.
Why This Film is Important:
When Demme decided to film this picture,
he really took on two causes. He dealt
with the issue of AIDS discrimination and discrimination
against homosexuals. These are two very
important causes. In particular, people
still don’t like to talk about AIDS.
They don’t want to see it and they don’t
want to know anyone who has it. They just
want to quietly sweep this “thing”
under the rug and not deal with it. But,
it cannot be swept under the rug. That
is why this movie is such an important one.
Favorite Quotation: Judge
Garrett: In this courtroom, Mr. Miller, justice
is blind to matters of race, creed, color, religion,
and sexual orientation. Joe Miller: With all
due respect, your honor, we don't live in this
courtroom, do we?