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Philadelphia (1993)

  Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington
Links: Philadelphia on the IMDb, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 10.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Philadelphia (1993) is also mentioned in mino's review of A Time To Kill (1996).

"One of the most memorable films of the 1990s" - a review by pearly

Philadelphia is about the most emotional, complex, and real film that I can remember having seen. I have watched it numerous times, and if I'm not in too depressed a state, I will switch it on whenever it comes on TV. It stamps out a picture of a particular moment in time - a moment where the world kinda lost the plot a bit.

The film is about Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), a homosexual man who has contracted HIV, and is sacked when the partners in the law firm he works for find out about his illness. Andrew then hires Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to represent him as he plans to sue for wrongful dismissal.

Firstly, emotion. The story of Beckett is so well told, that I think it would be impossible for you, as an audience member, not to feel for the guy. What it is that you feel will depend on you as a person, but you'll definitely feel something.

Second, complexity. When Beckett first approaches Miller, Miller is too scared to take on the case - not because of its profile, but because of his own prejudices towards Beckett and his illness. Given that Miller is an African-American, and is quite probably a constant victim of prejudice, this is a clever layer to add to the storyline. It would have been easy to script a person who could totally sympathise with Beckett's position in the role of his lawyer. But Miller doesn't totally sympathise, and therefore, we're able to see his journey, as he discovers more about himself and grows as a person.

Thirdly, reality. Philadelphia captures the sentiment of a large number of people at that time; that, for example, HIV was God's answer for living a homosexual lifestyle. If there's one thing that you can hope whilst watching this film in the current day, it's that the world has changed since the 1980s. No, the world's not perfect, but I hope I'm not naive in thinking that it's getting better.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this is the performance of Tom Hanks' career. Denzel is also a joy to watch. This review is most definitely a recommendation. See it.

pearly gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 10 Jul 2002

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Reader comments

  1. i absolutly adore Philadelphia . it is one of the bestt movies i have seen. Tom Hanks gives a fabulous proformance. When he gets out of Millers office he has the look of a little lost kid. Great movie

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from claire on Tue 21 Oct 2003 02:36 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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