- 2 hr 5 min
Philadelphia is a powerful and moving drama film from 1993, directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Roberta Maxwell. The movie was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to address the AIDS crisis and address the injustices and stigma experienced by people with HIV/AIDS during the early years of the epidemic.
Set in Philadelphia during the 1990s, the film follows the story of Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), a high-powered lawyer who is diagnosed with AIDS. As Beckett's condition worsens, he is fired from his job at a top law firm by his bosses, who suspect he has AIDS but do not want to risk their other employees or clients being exposed to the disease. Feeling betrayed and humiliated, Beckett files a lawsuit against his former employers for wrongful dismissal and discrimination on the basis of his illness.
The movie, which tackles many social and political issues of the time, explores the complexity of the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as the legal system's attempts to reconcile itself with this new and little-understood disease. It also delves into the challenges faced by gay men who were at the forefront of the epidemic due to the prevalence of the illness within the LGBTQ+ community, and the resulting societal marginalization.
While Andrew's lawsuit is at the heart of the story, the film also follows the character's struggles with his own mortality as he faces the reality of his illness, and the impact his diagnosis has on his relationship with his partner Miguel (Antonio Banderas). Throughout the movie, viewers are exposed to both the physical and emotional pain that AIDS patients suffered at that time, as well as the effects that the disease had on their friends and loved ones.
The movie's performances by its lead actors are nothing short of brilliant. Tom Hanks delivers an incredibly nuanced portrayal of Andrew Beckett, capturing the character's frustration, courage, and eventual acceptance of his inevitable death with an authenticity that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Denzel Washington also shines as Joe Miller, a homophobic lawyer who initially refuses to represent Beckett but eventually comes to recognize the injustice of the situation and the strength of character that Beckett possesses.
Roberta Maxwell, who plays one of Andrew's few remaining friends and confidantes, also turns in a poignant performance, adding a layer of compassion and humanity to the story that helps to round out some of the harsher realities depicted in the film.
Overall, Philadelphia is a deeply moving movie that tackles some of the most difficult and profound issues of its time. Its message of compassion, tolerance, and hope is as relevant today as it was when it was first released, making it a timeless masterpiece.
Philadelphia is a 1994 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 66.