A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.
After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.
Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness's telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employers top litigators, Belinda Conine.Written by
For the purpose of illustration, Joe Miller asks people to explain things to him in simple terms, several times throughout the movie. First, he requests an explanation fit for a two year old child. Later, for a four year old. And finally, for a six year old. See more »
Andrew Beckett is called as a trial witness late in the plaintiff's case. This is totally incorrect as he would have been called to testify first as the plaintiff. That establishes his case early and also tries to force the defendants to give in and settle. See more »
[Andrew transcendentally describes his favorite opera,slowly walking around his apartment, closing his eyes, looking up]
Do you like opera?
I'm not that familiar with opera.
This is my favorite aria. This is Maria Callas. This is "Andrea Chenier", Umberto Giordano. This is Madeleine. She's saying how during the French Revolution, a mob set fire to her house, and her mother died... saving her. "Look, the place that cradled me is burning." Can you hear the heartache in her voice? Can you feel it, ...
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"This motion picture was inspired in part by Geoffrey Bowers' AIDS discrimination lawsuit, the courage and love of the Angius family and the struggles of the many others who, along with their loved ones, have experienced discrimination because of AIDS." See more »
The cable and network television versions of Philadelphia edit out portions of the pharmacy scene where a gay University of Pennsylvania law student attempts to pick up Joe Miller. These two versions end this scene with the law student responding "Do I?" to Joe Miller's question concerning whether Miller looked gay. In the theatrical, home video and premium channel versions, Joe Miller continues to berate the law student with bigot remarks regarding homosexuals. See more »
Others have commented on caricatures and on "heroes versus villains" simplicity of the characters. I generally agree. I should point out, however, that the plaintiff is portrayed as having succumbed to casual sex and professes to have been very naive about the etiology of HIV. As some have noted, the plaintiff's attorney is a homophobe and, Demme and the script make it clear, overcomes that tendency but a bit in the course of the film.
The caricatures to which I should draw attention are the lawyers in this lawyer-laden film. Demme and the script have created a festival of lawyer jokes. The advertisements and literal jokes ["What do you call 1000 lawyers chained to the bottom of the sea?" is an example] MAY have been an attempt to analogize between stigmatized social groups [such as gays] and stigmatized occupational groups. If so, I do not believe the effect was achieved. Instead, the film plays to stereotypes and mythology about law and lawyers.
Take the brief interview in which Denzel Washington's character establishes that a injured man is pushing a lawsuit without merit. Added to Washington's TV ads, the ambulance-chaser stereotype is realized -- but to what end? How does it advance anything to play to slander and innuendo about plaintiffs' attorneys? At best the viewer sees that, confronted with a genuine case, Washington turns it down to get Hanks' character out of his office.
Moreover, the laughable testimony by the law partners virtually handed the plaintiff the case. Why would lawyers tell stories about Navy latrines or expound on the Bible when they knew it would hurt their case?
So, when you hear that this film is sappy and politically correct, please realize that such comments are slightly off center. The film is sophomoric rather than sappy. The humanity of the Hanks character is actually realized deftly, in my viewings of the film. The film IS politically correct -- but the political correctness is in slurring lawyers as a class. It is politically correct to castigate lawyers.
Could have been a much better film with a little thought and care.
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