Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Philadelphia, like last year's Dallas Buyers Club doesn't care much about subtlety. It presents its unambiguous, one-sided humanistic message concerning the gay/AIDS issue with unabashed clarity. Tom Hanks plays a hotshot lawyer who, after being diagnosed with AIDS, is fired by his law firm for incompetency. The bulk of the movie consists of classic courtroom drama scenes involving Hanks, with his initially homophobic personal injury lawyer (played by a great Denzel Washington-before he wore out his DZ-Shtick) trying to prove that his law firm let him go due to homosexual prejudice. As mentioned, the movie is clear about what it's trying to say, which is perfectly fine partly because it was the first film to realistically deal with the AIDS issue. What makes it actually worth watching, though, is the commitment from Hanks, Washington, and director Jonathan Demme. Everything is so well put-together, all the lines so perfectly delivered, the flow of scenes so nicely constructed for maximum emotional appeal, that the obviousness of the whole thing ends up hardly mattering at all.