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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 March 2002
I've watched this film so many times and it never fails to evoke the same intensity of emotion. Tom Hanks is absolutely outstanding; the whole cast have been superbly selected. The relationship between Andrew Beckett (Hanks) and Joe Miller (Washington) develops before your very eyes, the scene in the library being the catalyst, when Miller realises that discrimination and prejudice aren't just confined to the colour of skin. There are even a few light moments - notice how Miller's wife, having just given birth, takes the camera off her fumbling husband to put the film in!! The sheer loneliness of Beckett's attempts to find someone to fight his case is amplified by the haunting soundtrack. The courtroom scenes are tense, with Miller's humour being the only relief. It's the final part that really proves gutwrenching; Beckett in hospital saying goodbye to his family and the "home videos". Brilliantly directed and worth every penny.
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on 4 March 2004
"This is the essence of discrimination: Formulating opinions about others not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in a group with assumed characteristics." (School Board of Nassau County v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273 (1987) (Brennan, J.), on remand, 692 F. Supp. 1286 (M.D. Fla. 1988)). This rule, reaffirmed by the landmark Supreme Court decision which, over the dissent of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia, first recognized the infection with a contagious disease (tuberculosis) as an actionable handicap under federal law, forms the initial bond between star litigator Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) and ambulance chaser Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the unlikely team at the center of this movie. Because through these words, black attorney Miller begins to realize that his colleague Beckett faces a handicap which, in essence, is not so different from that confronted by many of his fellow African Americans. And because this is an incredibly effectively scripted Hollywood movie, we, the audience, easily get the point as well; even if we're white, and even if we're not gay and/or suffering from AIDS like Beckett.
Of course, the insidiousness of the AIDS virus places those afflicted with it in a class of their own, and while the movie spares its viewers the pictures of some of the virus's most graphic effects, it does go to considerable length to show the physical decline associated with it - not only in the person of Beckett himself, for whose role Hanks literally almost starved himself. Some of the patients surrounding him in the movie's earlier emergency room scenes really were AIDS patients, whom Hanks had approached when preparing for the movie, and who had subsequently agreed to participate; and as Hanks emphasized during an appearance in Bravo TV's "Inside the Actors' Studio," not all of them are still alive. - Denzel Washington's appropriately named Joe Miller, middle class everyman in everything but the color of his skin (one of the movie's obvious bows to political correctness), displays an attitude uncomfortably familiar to many of us; shunning gays in general and the HIV-infected Beckett in particular, out of a mixture of ignorance about AIDS, prejudice against those suffering from it, and prejudice against gays. Both Hanks and Washington give strikingly emotional, profound performances that rank among the best in their respective careers - Hanks deservedly won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Beckett, but Washington unfairly wasn't even nominated for either. Yet, neither of them would have been able to shine as much as they do without their exceptional supporting cast; to name just two, Jason Robards, commanding as ever as Beckett's homophobic former boss (and role model!), and Antonio Banderas as his devoted lover.
By the time of "Philadelphia"'s release, some of the early myths about AIDS had begun to disappear, and the yearly growing numbers of newly infected patients had brought it out of its erstwhile obscurity as "the gay plague." But indepth knowledge was still far from widespread, and therefore the movie not only brought awareness to the disease in general, but also made a couple of important points, from educating the public about the disease's method of transmission to emphasizing that it is by no means limited to gays and can even be contracted in something as life-affirming as a blood transfusion. (Indeed, several European countries were rocked by transfusion-related AIDS scandals right around the time of the movie's release). One of "Philadelphia"'s most quietly powerful scenes is the testimony of a female witness who was infected by just such a transfusion, and who emphasizes that having AIDS is not a matter of sin or morality: "I don't consider myself any different from anyone else with this disease. I'm not guilty, I'm not innocent, I'm just trying to survive," she responds when asked to confirm that in her case "there was no behavior on [her] part" involved and contracting AIDS was something she was "unable to avoid." - Moreover, four years before Ellen DeGeneres rocked the showboat with a kiss during an episode of her sitcom, and Kevin Kline and Magnum macho Tom Selleck locked lips in "In and Out" (the screenplay of which was inspired by Hanks's Oscar acceptance speech for "Philadelphia"), it was by no means a given that a movie would get away with letting Hanks and Banderas exchange acts of tenderness from caresses and kisses on the hand to a slow dance at a gay party.
Given "Philadelphia"'s fundamental message and the memorable performances of its protagonists, it is a pity that the movie doesn't entirely avoid Hollywood pitfalls, such as its soggy ending with grease literally dripping off the screen and the undeniable taste of a sugar-coated afterthought, transmitting the message that even dying of AIDS is really not so terrible, at least for the surviving family who can still unite around the television set and wallow in their memories of their lost loved one. And while I do buy Joe Miller's transformation from a (somewhat stereotypical) homophobic male to a reluctant supporter of gay rights, I don't really see why Beckett suddenly assumes a cliche gay look the second he has been fired; not to mention that I suspect not everybody in his situation would have enjoyed such overwhelming support from his family.
But ultimately, it is the movie's overarching message that counts. "Ain't no angel gonna greet me; it's just you and I my friend ... and my clothes don't fit me no more: I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin," sings Bruce Springsteen, the movie's other Oscar winner, in "Philadelphia"'s title song. And Justice Brennan wrote in the Supreme Court's Arline decision that in amending federal law, Congress was motivated by "discrimination stemming not only from simple prejudice, but also from archaic attitudes and laws." This movie goes a long way in dispelling such attitudes. It alone isn't enough - but it is, as Andrew Beckett jokes about the 1000 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean, a good start.
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on 27 July 2004
After a long battle with my Mom, that ended with the deal "If you watch Escaflowne: The Movie, I'll watch Philadelphia with you", I finally sat down to watch it. Flop knows why I put this film off for so long.
Based on the novel, Philadelphia tells the story of Andrew Beckett, an excellent lawyer fired from his prominant law firm after the partners discover he had AIDs. The film follows his path as he chooses to take the firm to court, and and leads up to the outcome of the trial.
This film has to be one of Tom Hanks' graetest achievements. Possibly one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in cinema ever comes as Tom Hanks emotively describes an opera song, 'La Mamma Morte' as Maria Callas version plays in the background. This culmination of emotions, the combination of music, facial expression and story-telling evoke a sort of deep heart felt sorrow for this man. It is, put simply, a beautiful scene.
Performances by Denzel Washington and Antonio Banderas should not be ignored either, as they act in such a way as to create an air of natural behaviour, emotion and conflict. I do feel, however, that Banderas' character, Miguel, came off better in the novel, as more time was given to him and his feelings. However, Banderas worked well with what he was given, so commendation must go to him.
The brilliant thing about Philadelphia is that the film is not only about AIDs and homosexuality. It brings to light the issues of discrimination in the workplace.
Put plainly, this is a film definately worth watching, especially with a box of hankies nearby.
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on 14 June 2005
When I first saw this film, I was very young and did not know hardly anything about homosexuality or aids. All I knew was that Tom Hanks was my best actor and I was touched emotionally. I watch it now and I forgot how powerful and serious the film is with its message. Tom Hanks pulls off a man coping with aids to a very high degree and teaming up with Denzel Washington as a homophobic. Denzel plays a lawyer in the film who is approached by Tom to help him win his lawsuit against the company who sacked him but has his insecurities towards the aids and homosexuality issues. Its very upsetting to see Tom Hanks struggle with his illness and you feel for all the characters. The main theme song provided by Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen really hits home. The acting is amazing and spot on from the duo and deserves its oscar award. This is a must see for everyone and has become an instant classic. Deserves to be in anyones collection. I promise you won't see anything like this with so much passion.
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on 6 May 2016
an amazing film by silance of the lambs film director Jonathan Demme.
its very emotional and amazing acting however if im honest now that ive seen And the Band Played On this film doesnt go deep enough into everything that happend in the 80s however i still really like this film and this films focus was totally different so its to be expected that this film doesnt have all the ins and outs and besides theres material in And the Band Played On i dont think would suit this style of film anyway they both have different points to get across, i love the writting in this, you see the ignorance of some people n how differently normal people who have aids are treated and how some other people think you can catch it only if your a man and thats its a male only desiease yet they seem to think your going to kill them if they touch you etc when thats simply not true (note: you will see in the film a women born with aids, so she didnt get it from catching off another person or touching a person with aids)
if you enjoy this film i higly recomend And the Band Played On
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on 15 May 2016
Philadelphia is an interesting film worth watching as it was the first film created with 'big stars' that tackled Aids. The star power of this film alone is wonderful with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington to name two. I describe the film as 'interesting' because it is similar to the lives of two lawyers in America who had been discriminated against due to being diagnosed with Aids therefore you can see the magnitude of hope that this film held for change.
This is a great example of a sickness melodrama as well, for those who study film this would provide you with some very interesting points.
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on 2 April 2015
Tom won his first Oscar for his performance in this film – a year later he won his second, with ‘everyone’s favourite film’ – Forest Gump!
Philadelphia was an enormous success – costing 26 million $ to make and netting a whooping 206 million.
The theme of course has been done many times - reluctant lawyer takes on unwinnable case – To Kill A Mocking Bird, A Time To Kill, My Cousin Vinny & A Few Good Men, to mention but a few. This film was based on a true event.
The synopsis is well known, so there’s no point in me going there. I would just say that this is a very stylish film that holds your attention throughout and is a thoroughly satisfying watch. Its 5 stars all the way. Hanks is such a fine and likable actor that it doesn’t matter if he’s a numbskull, a gangster, a prison warder, a castaway or a soldier … you just buy into that rather laidback, thoughtful character?
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on 27 February 2001
If you haven't seen this film, you really are missing something fantastic. The way this film tackles the issue of AIDS head on is brilliant and the cast is simply superb and really help bring the film to life! However, perhaps the most brilliant aspect of this film is that, although it is advertised as a film about AIDS (which of course, it is) it is as much about the attitudes of society towards homosexuality as it is about AIDS. The clever bit is that the films producers clearly understood modern attitudes and were aware that a groundbreaking film about AIDS would get far higher viewing figures than a film about homosexuality. However, by the time you realise that the film is not just about AIDS, you are hooked and only the most devout homophobe would not be touched and have their eyes opened to the prejudice that still surrounds us today. An excellent film and worth more than 5 stars!!
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on 27 February 2013
No I hadn't been living under a rock. Of course I had seen this film many times. But the last viewing was quite a while back. Years ago. I assumed because I had not seen it in a long time that it wouldn't get to me or make me emotional. I was wrong. Hanks is pretty fabulous. As is Washington. It's so '90s but thats not a bad thing. It's a time capsual. How far we have come now. The seen where Hanks is dying in hospital and his family are saying good bye for the night and his brother breaks down is always the part where I loose it. Tears.... Streaming. yea. Ok. Great film.
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on 15 November 2005
"This is the essence of discrimination: Formulating opinions about others not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in a group with assumed characteristics." (School Board of Nassau County v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273 (1987) (Brennan, J.), on remand, 692 F. Supp. 1286 (M.D. Fla. 1988)). This rule, reaffirmed by the landmark Supreme Court decision which, over the dissent of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia, first recognized the infection with a contagious disease (tuberculosis) as an actionable handicap under federal law, forms the initial bond between star litigator Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) and ambulance chaser Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the unlikely team at the center of this movie. Because through these words, black attorney Miller begins to realize that his colleague Beckett faces a handicap which, in essence, is not so different from that confronted by many of his fellow African Americans. And because this is an incredibly effectively scripted Hollywood movie, we, the audience, easily get the point as well; even if we're white, and even if we're not gay and/or suffering from AIDS like Beckett.
Of course, the insidiousness of the AIDS virus places those afflicted with it in a class of their own, and while the movie spares its viewers the pictures of some of the virus's most graphic effects, it does go to considerable length to show the physical decline associated with it - not only in the person of Beckett himself, for whose role Hanks literally almost starved himself. Some of the patients surrounding him in the movie's earlier emergency room scenes really were AIDS patients, whom Hanks had approached when preparing for the movie, and who had subsequently agreed to participate; and as Hanks emphasized during an appearance in Bravo TV's "Inside the Actors' Studio," not all of them are still alive. - Denzel Washington's appropriately named Joe Miller, middle class everyman in everything but the color of his skin (one of the movie's obvious bows to political correctness), displays an attitude uncomfortably familiar to many of us; shunning gays in general and the HIV-infected Beckett in particular, out of a mixture of ignorance about AIDS, prejudice against those suffering from it, and prejudice against gays. Both Hanks and Washington give strikingly emotional, profound performances that rank among the best in their respective careers - Hanks deservedly won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Beckett, but Washington unfairly wasn't even nominated for either. Yet, neither of them would have been able to shine as much as they do without their exceptional supporting cast; to name just two, Jason Robards, commanding as ever as Beckett's homophobic former boss (and role model!), and Antonio Banderas as his devoted lover.
By the time of "Philadelphia"'s release, some of the early myths about AIDS had begun to disappear, and the yearly growing numbers of newly infected patients had brought it out of its erstwhile obscurity as "the gay plague." But indepth knowledge was still far from widespread, and therefore the movie not only brought awareness to the disease in general, but also made a couple of important points, from educating the public about the disease's method of transmission to emphasizing that it is by no means limited to gays and can even be contracted in something as life-affirming as a blood transfusion. (Indeed, several European countries were rocked by transfusion-related AIDS scandals right around the time of the movie's release). One of "Philadelphia"'s most quietly powerful scenes is the testimony of a female witness who was infected by just such a transfusion, and who emphasizes that having AIDS is not a matter of sin or morality: "I don't consider myself any different from anyone else with this disease. I'm not guilty, I'm not innocent, I'm just trying to survive," she responds when asked to confirm that in her case "there was no behavior on [her] part" involved and contracting AIDS was something she was "unable to avoid." - Moreover, four years before Ellen DeGeneres rocked the showboat with a kiss during an episode of her sitcom, and Kevin Kline and Magnum macho Tom Selleck locked lips in "In and Out" (the screenplay of which was inspired by Hanks's Oscar acceptance speech for "Philadelphia"), it was by no means a given that a movie would get away with letting Hanks and Banderas exchange acts of tenderness from caresses and kisses on the hand to a slow dance at a gay party.
Given "Philadelphia"'s fundamental message and the memorable performances of its protagonists, it is a pity that the movie doesn't entirely avoid Hollywood pitfalls, such as its soggy ending with grease literally dripping off the screen and the undeniable taste of a sugar-coated afterthought, transmitting the message that even dying of AIDS is really not so terrible, at least for the surviving family who can still unite around the television set and wallow in their memories of their lost loved one. And while I do buy Joe Miller's transformation from a (somewhat stereotypical) homophobic male to a reluctant supporter of gay rights, I don't really see why Beckett suddenly assumes a cliche gay look the second he has been fired; not to mention that I suspect not everybody in his situation would have enjoyed such overwhelming support from his family.
But ultimately, it is the movie's overarching message that counts. "Ain't no angel gonna greet me; it's just you and I my friend ... and my clothes don't fit me no more: I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin," sings Bruce Springsteen, the movie's other Oscar winner, in "Philadelphia"'s title song. And Justice Brennan wrote in the Supreme Court's Arline decision that in amending federal law, Congress was motivated by "discrimination stemming not only from simple prejudice, but also from archaic attitudes and laws." This movie goes a long way in dispelling such attitudes. It alone isn't enough - but it is, as Andrew Beckett jokes about the 1000 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean, a good start.
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