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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?

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