It’s no secret I have a definite thing for the 80s and 90s, so it should come as no surprise to you that I am about to review one of the best Tom Hanks movies.
Personally, I find Tom Hanks to have two sides: the more popular one, where he plays attractive and loveable men in (romantic) comedies (think Sleepless in Seattle, Splash, You’ve Got Mail, Big etc.); and the more serious one (or the Oscar-winning one), where he plays all kinds of characters that will make your tear-ducts itch.
In this 1993 powerhouse, Tom Hanks plays young lawyer Andrew Beckett. The favourite at his big-shot law firm in Philadelphia, Andrew is slowly moving up the ranks, keeping his homosexuality and AIDS a secret at work. When he starts showing signs of the disease, Andrew finds himself fired for a mistake he didn’t make. Intent on filing for wrongful dismissal, Andrew finds himself unable to find a lawyer willing to represent him.
Desperate, he even approaches an old opponent, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), who also refuses the case as he is a homophobe and indeed very afraid and ill-informed about the disease. Eventually other people’s reactions to Beckett, Miller decides to take on the case only to prove that he is better.
As the trial begins, Beckett’s health is rapidly deteriorating. His partner Miguel (Antonio Banderas) as well as his family are desperate to see him improve or at least live peacefully, but Beckett is consumed by the need to prove his innocence.
The movie won two Oscars, one for Best Actor (Tom Hanks, duh) and another for Best Original Song (Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia‘).
It’s an amazing depiction of massive-scale homophobia and that innate fear of the unknown that we have. Fear of the other, of that thing that we can’t explain, this illness that no one understood back then.
I’m a total weeper, but to be fair, even the most cold-hearted person is bound to feel something when watching this movie.
Pictures from: imdb.com, rackcdn.com, sensesofcinema.com, timeinc.net, toutlecine.com, impawards.com, blog.hu
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