Philadelphia

1993

Action / Drama / Romance

133
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 199832

Synopsis


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January 18, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Director

Cast

Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett
Denzel Washington as Joe Miller
Mary Steenburgen as Belinda Conine
Antonio Banderas as Miguel Alvarez
720p.BLU
550.16 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 5 min
P/S 4 / 76

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by apd-57173 9 / 10

A real tear jerker

I saw this movie when it came out and thought it was ok, I mean Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks how could you miss? I saw it recently again (2017) and was deeply moved by it. Couldn't hold back the tears at the end even though I tried real hard. Faint memories of the film Brian's Song seemed to come back and of the film Born Free which I remember as moving as well.

Reviewed by Red-125 10 / 10

Still a powerful movie after 25 years

Philadelphia (1993) was directed by Jonathan Demme. The AIDS epidemic started in the early 1980's, and movies about AIDS started to appear in the mid-1980s. However, to my knowledge, Philadelphia was the first high-budget, mainstream film about AIDS to appear on the screen.

TriStar certainly provided the funds to attract an all-star cast. Tom Hanks portrays brilliant lawyer Andrew Beckett. When Beckett is fired from his high-prestige law firm, no lawyer wants to touch his case for wrongful dismissal. Denzel Washington plays Joe Miller, who agrees to represent Beckett. (Joe is himself uncomfortable with AIDS. However, he knows injustice when he sees it.) Antonio Banderas plays Beckett's loving partner, Miguel Alvarez. Jason Robards is perfectly cast as Charles Wheeler, Beckett's mentor until he becomes Beckett's enemy. All four men are superstars, and it's easy to see why.

The film doesn't just have star power in the leading roles. Great actors like Roberta Maxwell and Joanne Woodward have small supporting roles.

The movie is courageous in facing AIDS directly. In the 1980's and 1990's, people distinguished between "good AIDS" and "bad AIDS." Good AIDS was AIDS that people contracted from blood transfusions. So, the thought was that these people were innocent victims.

Bad AIDS came from (mostly) men having sex with men. In retrospect, we can see the moral error in this good vs. evil judgment. But, at the time, gay sex was considered evil, and many people thought that gay men with AIDS deserved the disease.

How this prejudice played out inside and outside the courtroom represents the plot of the movie. It's very strong and truly heart-wrenching.

We saw this film at the excellent Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. It was shown at Rochester's wonderful ImageOut, the LGBT Film Festival. Almost all of the movies shown at ImageOut are new, cutting-edge films. Philadelphia was shown under the heading, "ImageOut of the Archives." The movie was made almost 25 years ago, and it's being shown again to mark that anniversary.

Philadelphia is an important film, and shouldn't be missed. It will work very well on the small screen. Find it and watch it. (Or, as I did, watch it again.)

P.S. Mary Steenburgen has a supporting role as Belinda Conine, the attorney representing Beckett's former law firm. I can't remember when an actor has made so strong an impression in a relatively small role. She's just what you'd expect in this context--brilliant, eloquent, with a heart that has no room for conscience or remorse. She knows that the law firm had dismissed Beckett because he had AIDS. However, that's not going to stop her in the least. It's not even going to slow her down.

Reviewed by tenebrisis 8 / 10

Excellent interpretation

Hailed as one of the first big-budget films to address the AIDS virus, 'Philadelphia' relies on its top-notch cast to chart a course through difficult themes. At the emotional core, rather than a focus on the spectacular details of the disease, the film chooses to examine the discrimination and homophobic in-tolerances that those afflicted face. The real tragedy? The social demise and stigma of the individual which precedes physical death itself.

Using the courtroom setting to stage its drama, 'Philadelphia', asks some difficult questions, but then in a puzzling reversal, it discards some of its more emotional elements and decides to play it safe. Some might argue that this quiet restraint is one of the film's strengths, but this seriously derails some of the film's emotive power.

There is one scene in particular that drastically alters the tone of the film. Andrew Beckett, played by Tom Hanks, interprets his favorite opera to attorney Joe Miller, a self-proclaimed homophobia. The film seems to warp at the very seams as Andrew dramatizes the opera. It's an incredibly powerful moment and a sobering vision of what could have been.

Nonetheless, the film accomplishes an imperative objective. Educating the masses and altering public perception and for this reason alone, 'Philadelphia' warrants celebration.

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