Philadelphia (1993 USA)

Andrew’s father: “We’re incredibly proud of you.” Andrew’s mother: “You get in there and you fight for your rights.” Andrew: “Gee, I love you guys.” This piece of Hollywood trash made limousine liberals feel good about themselves as they virtue signalled to each other from their seats without getting too close to the messy reality this tale should tell. They decided to wear a prophylactic instead of giving it to us au naturel.  And as for Tom Hanks playing a gay man (Andrew) well, he had no idea what he was doing. Denzel Washington should have been the homosexual. With his Freddie Mercury moustache, he certainly looks the part. 

Or they could have given the main role to Antonio Banderas – he’s played more gay dudes than we’ve had hot dinners. The movie opens with an almost guided tour of different sites of the city of Philadelphia where people gather, to no doubt celebrate the image of the cultural die-versity and tolerance of its reputed broad-minded populace. Formulaic hardly describes it. It looks as though somebody has gone to the props department, taken the sack marked ‘cliches’ and poured the contents out all over the screen. You know just how it’s going to end from the sight of Hanks’ very first lesion. The court case is inevitable, and he must win.

Though it’ll be a pyrrhic victory because he’s going to die. The initially prejudiced lawyer will overcome his bigotry and learn to love homosexuals. Instead of just fighting the case for money – he’ll begin fighting for justice! Yeah, man; right on. Everyone in the courtroom (and presumably the audience) will have a ‘Damascus’ moment. A subtle piece of propaganda, every effort is made to highlight the hypocrisy of Hanks’ former colleagues and in doing so that of (straight) society as a whole. Very little is made of the fact that this ‘victim’ caught the disease as a result of his own reckless behaviour, participating in lewd conduct with complete strangers, whilst living (and engaging in sexual activity with) a male partner.

The partner did not himself become infected. But that was no credit to Hanks’ character. He might also have been facing a hideous death as a result of this man’s cavalier irresponsibility, his contemptuous and cynical disregard for another’s safety. So it would seem that he can betray his best friend to the extent of perhaps forfeiting the friend’s life, but his employers can’t betray him to the extent of forfeiting his job. No hypocrisy there then. At the very least, Tom Hanks’ character should be facing charges of reckless endangerment with respect to his partner. Whilst his employers should be free to countersue for breach of trust.

But the subject matter of this film is such that anything less than its wholehearted endorsement is likely to be lambasted as an expression of so-called ‘homophobia’. It nevertheless has more the appearance of an advocacy rather than entertainment. I, for one, don’t much care for being told what to think. Director Jonathon Demme had been accused of homophobia over his The Silence Of The Lambs so he felt he had to shut up his critics with this effort. Bad guys: all white, all straight law firm lawyers. We can’t ever have an honest movie about race and obviously we can’t have an honest one about AIDS or gays. Hollywood always has an agenda along with their protected groups that can do no wrong….Yawn.

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