Dec 30, 2010

Philadelphia, 1993

Philadelphia, 1993
Director: Ron Nyswaner
Cast: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell

Stage: Home TV selection on national AIDS day

Philadelphia in short: Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer infected with AIDS, is fired from his conservative law firm in fear that they might contract AIDS from him. After Andrew is fired, in a last attempt for peace, he sues his former law firm with the help of a homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller. During the court battle, Miller sees that Beckett is no different than anyone else on the gritty streets of the city of brotherly love, sheds his homophobia and helps Beckett with his case before AIDS overcomes him.

Preps: I have seen this movie several times. And I am a huge fan of Hanks and Washington - I believe I need to see this piece every now and then just as a reminder of what the world can become.

Reality: It's a fact that people with all sorts of handicaps are being handled differently in business environment. How about having AIDS? The virus HIV was in the beginning of the nineties just heading towards an explosion, therefore, the topic was at that time very current and upfront addressing the companies that unlegally fired people with HIV.
Now, with the knowledge we had at that point, there was a lot of fear circling the virus, the infection, possibilities of getting the disease from a person already infected by this.. fear caused prejudice and after that it's just a step away from misjudging the situation and running for your life, whenever there's a person with HIV on the horizon.

Nevertheless, it's still illegal to fire people based on their handicap, disease and Philadelphia was the first really notorius movie that caused dilemma and spread a different message, with regards to people with AIDS. Now, in present time, the amount of knowledge of the disease is much extensive and there are ways to cure it long after receiving it. Up to 30 years, the doctors say. In 1993 the estimated time was only 10 years. It's quite unique how the topic and the misbehaviour was prosecuted in this movie, giving a positive example to all following cases and all the companies that would undergo the same struggle. To look from the economical point of view, the customers don't want to interact with people with AIDS and it would seem quite natural to let them go. But it's illegal. Why not forcing them to leave (either based on their conscience or framing them, like this movie shows). Now, is it up to the company to look from a human perspective, or should it follow simple economy logic? Up to the viewer here to decide, nevertheless, I have a sense that the company exposed in the movie wasn't sorry of letting Hanks go, but they were so so sorry they were caught.

The piece accompanies a good music and a great stage. You will enjoy the moral dilemmas exposed here and it will make you think about shaking hands with a person with AIDS and not having any prejudice while doing it.

My personal rating: 8,5
(a truly unique piece, the first of its kind that sets grounds for judging this sort of behaviour towards people that have AIDS)

Philly on IMDB

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