in about 100 words or less
US 125m, Colour
Director: Jonathan Demme; Cast: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas, Joanne Woodward, Robert W. Castle, Mary Steenburgen
Philadelphia begins as a simple courtroom drama about Andrew Beckett, a dying man who attempts to prove that he was wrongfully dismissed from his job because he was gay and had contracted AIDS. Rebuffed by a prejudiced colleague, who initially refuses to represent him, Beckett and his reluctant attorney attract both sympathy and scorn over the course of their public trial. Widely noted as the first mainstream Hollywood film to explore these issues, Philadelphia slowly evolves into a highly emotional and sentimental story about a family’s love and understanding. Though not without criticism and controversy, it expanded public consciousness amid widespread misconceptions surrounding the disease (Klaus Ming January 2015).