Philadelphia (1993)

Rating 12
Length 2h06
Release 25.2.1994
Director Jonathan Demme
About A young Philadelphia lawyer who is infected with AIDS keeps his homosexuality hidden from his employers. When he is suddenly dismissed, he hires a homophobic lawyer for a wrongful dismissal suit.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV

The Good

  • Both Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks gave incredible performances.
  • The story itself is powerful and one of the first of its kind to explore, or rather challenge, views on sexuality and the stigma of the HIV/AIDS crisis that had been misrepresented in mass media for the entire decade since being recognised as a “novel illness” in the early 80s.
    By no means an easy watch, the film highlights the difference between opinion, morality and the law. It will make you think, learn and question. Something all films try to achieve, but very rarely accomplish.
  • For me, one of the highlights of the film is Daniel Von Bargen as the Jury Foreman. He’s a well known, been in everything, character actor (films include Thinner, The Faculty and A Civil Action). You’ll be forgiven for any presumption you make; don’t worry, the film manipulated you in that way too. He has very few lines, but draws your attention from the start to give a rather surprising and satisfying payoff in the end.

The Bad

  • There’s a use of the camera as Andrew’s POV. I can see what it was trying to achieve, however I felt it distracted and pulled the viewer from the story rather than being emotive and immersive.
  • How was it that Denzel Washington was not even nominated for an Oscar?! I knew he hasn’t won, because I believe he received that honour for Training Day (2002) almost a decade later.

The Ugly

  • The tears. This might be one you watch alone, because there’ll be a point in which this film will break you. When that happens, the cathartic tears will come, but they won’t stop till long after the film’s credits finish.
  • There’s some ugly language used, even by one of our protagonists; Joe. However hard it is to hear them being used, we have to remember the context and it’s representation of a certain time, culture and society. It makes for a hard, but important watch.

Final Thoughts

So good everyone must watch it once in their lifetime, but so heart breaking that it most likely be just that once.

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