Plot – When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit – Philadelphia.
Director – Jonathan Demme
Genre – Drama
Released – 1993
Before they made Philadelphia, Tom Hanks was known as primarily as a comedic actor performing in comedies like Splash and Big, yet this is the film proved that although he had great comedic timing, his talents were always better suited as a dramatic actor.
Pulling off one of his greatest performances and winning a well deserved Oscar as Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer afflicted with AIDS who, after being fired by his bosses, hires Joe Miller (Washington), a fellow lawyer to fight for his cause.
Director Jonathan Demme proved he had the ability to turn well written and complex scripts into beautifully made movies when his previous film, The Silence of the Lambs, swept the board at the Oscars, however, Philadelphia is a lot more personal and nuanced than his previous blockbuster, that although advertised as a legal thriller, felt much closer to a fictionalised biographical-drama about an everyday man who is gay, happens to contract AIDS and the discrimination he then faced, just like countless others have done before and since, with the human drama just as important to the plot as the events that happen inside the courtroom.
Not to say that the courtroom scenes aren’t impressive, because they are. Each sequence is just as impressive as any John Grisham adaptation and just as intelligent. Overall, this is a film about discrimination, magnificently inspiring those who feel persecuted because of who they are or what they are, to keep fighting for change and never give up, even if the odds are stacked against you.
If you liked: A Time To Kill, Kramer vs. Kramer, Erin Brockovich