I am so tired, you guys. I stayed over at a friend’s and then had to drive all the way home, and driving is still really exhausting for me, since I got my licence only ten days ago. So I slept all day, and now I am in one of those I-just-woke-up-from-a-nap moods, and honestly all I wanna do is go back to sleep.
But I have a blog that I’ve worked on a lot in the past months, and the last thing I want is for it to become another one of my abandoned projects, so here I am, blogging! The movie I am reviewing today is not the one I had planned originally – I wanted to talk about a very different film, but then my mom randomly said she wanted to watch Philadelphia, and I got excited because it seemed like the perfect way to combine family-time and blogging-research.
Philadelphia is a movie from the 90s, about a gay man who is fired from his law firm for having AIDS.
Director: Jonathan Demme
Average rating: 7.7/10
This is, without a doubt, an important movie. The 90s were the time LGBT films were starting to be made commercially, for a wider, more open-minded audience, and this being from the year 1993, I think it did a fantastic job at being original and non-stereotypical.
We follow a lawyer who is fired from his job because he has AIDS, the way this affects him, the worsening of his condition, and his legal process. It’s clear from the start to him that his illness is not what motivated the decision to fire him, but his sexuality – thus the legal process becomes one not about the man’s physical capacity to do his job, but his co-workers’ discrimination.
I greatly appreciated the depth of every single character. Even the homophobic, ulikable people we meet are fascinating to watch in some way, all of them with their unique personality and story. I have no doubt that the acting did a lot for those characters, because the cast is absolutely fantastic – Tom Hanks plays our main character, the lawyer who gets fired, and I think this was the first time I ever saw him in a movie. I am absolutely in love with his portrayal of this sweet, intelligent man, and the way he handles his condition and his love-life. Denzel Washington plays the small lawyer who is the only one willing to help him win his process, and his character development was really well-done; he starts out as a very homophobic man but slowly grows fond of his client, saddened by his illness, and he gets very passionate about winning his case.
Other fantastic characters are, without a doubt, all of our main character’s family members. I think it’s rather sad that in every single LGBT movie, especially older ones, the parents of the gay character are hateful and homophobic, or at least sad that their child is not straight. So it positively surprised me to see that he had this huge family of caring, loving people, people who couldn’t care less about his sexual preferences and were just worried because he was ill. They not only loved him for who he was, but accepted his boyfriend like another son, caring about him just as much. How refreshing!
The legal process might sound like a boring, tedious premise for a movie, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was watching intently throughout the whole film, fascinated by both this man’s personal life and the legal action he was taking. I don’t know a lot about law, especially not law in the United States, so I was very happy that apparently in the early 90s there were already laws against discrimination in the work place.
The way the movie is shot might feel a little strange at first, but I slowly started to really like it. There is some interesting camera movement, and the story takes place over many months, so there are sudden cuts that jump to ‘three weeks later’ and so on – but I really did enjoy the peculiar aesthetic in the end, and kind of want to watch more movies shot in a similar way.
The last thing I wrote down after watching the movie is that apparently it’s good for fans of the TV show Queer as Folk. Looking back now, I have no idea why I might have thought that, but I guess if you enjoyed the part about dealing with HIV, you might find this movie fascinating as well. I sure did.
Have you guys seen Philadelphia? If so, what are your thoughts? I would love to discuss the movie in the comments below.
‘Till next time and happy watching!