I came across Philadelphia (1993) around 2 years ago. When the films credits rolled up the screen, I found a few tears settling on my cheeks. The end of the climax made me think, what did Andrew Beckett (Hanks) really want in this film, did he want to survive, did he want justice, did he want to find something to do before he died? I came to the conclusion that he is a man, just like us, he loves, works, goes to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning. He was a man who worked hard for years as a lawyer, a profession he loved, and had his job at the firm terminated because of the identification of the aids disease, a disease that was so mis-understood and mysterious to the public. Andrew Becket loved his job, the job being taken away from Becket was almost as bad as the disease he gained, as Becket once states on the podium “Sometimes, just sometimes, you get to be a part of justice, it’s a real thrill”, and Becket seeks out just that.
Aids is a disease that millions, possibly billions still have no idea about, they have the basic conception of it, but people are afraid of it, and back in the early 90’s when this disease appeared, people were terrified. Jonathan Demme (Director) does not turn the corner from this, he presents it in magnificent imagery (note the second Washington and Hanks encounter), Denzel is our hero in this film, he pioneers that the case wasn’t about sexual orientation, but for justice.
Indeed Philadelphia has presented the mis-understood bubble of Aids through a court room drama, which, sure, develops suspense and tension as we see Denzel grow as a character as he fights for Becket and justice, but at first this is just a case to him, but he soon starts to understand Becket, this ‘homsexual’ character, a label which he and many around him was terrified of, become close, maybe not in the conventional sense, but chemically, they understand each other.
Philadelphia is a film that is very focused on emotion, it emphasises this and makes this case of justice important to us, but more importantly Becket’s life is important to us, a man who is as kinda heart as we can find. Philadelphia is one of the modern classics of our film and should be watched by everyone, it’s a real testament to the people who have suffered this dreadful disease.