Philadelphia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Philadelphia Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2008
Hanks and Washington shine. This was a great movie and it came out at the right time.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
One of the first movies to deal with delicate matters like AIDS, homosexuality and intolerance at the time of its release. Although not altogether memorable, this is a praise-worthy effort that relies on some great performances and proves to be a deeply touching experience.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2015
Philadelphia is heartfelt and well-performed despite the simple plot. Tom Hanks & Denzel Washington provide remarkable charisma and chemistry in this film along with a creative direction from Jonathan Demme, making this piece an underrated film of the 90s. 4/5
Super Reviewer
November 20, 2007
Upon its release, this was a very important and groundbreaking film since it was the first major Hollywood effort to deal with the medical, social, and political issues of AIDS.

The story revolves around lawyer Andrew Beckett who is fired (he is told) for incompetence. He thinks the real reasons he is fired is because he is gay, but more importantly, because he is dying of AIDS. He feels an injustice has been done, so he teams up with an ACLU lawyer to take his former employers to court.

Tom Hanks won his first of two consecutive Oscars with this role as Andy Beckett, and yeah, he is wonderful. He gives a moving and sensitive performance- really highlighting what it is like to experience the stigmas surrounding the AIDS virus, especially at that time. As his lawyer, Denzel Washington is also top notch. I like how Washington's Joe Miller openly admits his dislike of homosexuals, but comes around when he realizes that Beckett really was unjustly let go.

The film's primarily a courtroom drama, but it's not nearly as gripping as something like A Few Good Men. I appreciate the way the film handles the subject matter, but I can't help but feel it gets a bit too heavy handed, preachy, and pretentious at times, though thankfully it's largely nuanced for a lot of it.

If going solely by the acting, this would get at least 4.5 stars, but as an overall experience I think 4 is pretty fair. It is an important work, but I think it's a bit rough around the edges, being groundbreaking and whatnot. All in all though, I do recommend it, because it is very affecting and touching.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2012
Philadelphia is a superb drama starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Jonathan Demme crafts a solid film that brought to light the issue of AIDS. The plot of the film is terrific and director Jonathan Demme crafts a memorable film with stunning and memorable picture that is a must see. Tom Hanks gives a great performance, probably one of his best. The film's cast keeps you interested from start to finish, and the film is simply well crafted and engaging. The film is very sad and it is a powerful film that you simply can't forget. I really enjoyed the film and thought it was one of the best drama films of the 90's. This almost a perfect film and Tom Hanks definitely deserved his Oscar as the Lawyer who was fired for having the Aids virus. Brilliant and touching, this is simply a film that you can't forget. Tom Hanks delivers something unique on-screen, and the message of the film is pretty powerful. Demme does a great job directing here, and he makes another great film aside from The Silence of the Lambs. With effective directing, a great plot and phenomenal acting, Philadelphia is an outstanding drama that is near flawless and it's worth seeing for the performance of Tom Hanks. Philadelphia is a poignant film that is a stunning work in 90's cinema. A thoroughly engaging film from start to finish.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
A brave film for its time, this movie touches the aspects of how AIDS and homosexuality as they are being viewed by the majority of the uniformed mass and weaves it all into a compelling court drama. While the great opening sequence with Bruce Springsteen's instant classic tune shows us the city of brotherly love from its more and less glamorous sides, things soon get up close and personal, just like the fantastic camera work that often turns the audience into a witness of the events on screen. Tom Hanks delivers his strongest performance to date and finds a great counterpart with Denzel Washington. The acting is top notch down to the smallest roles, but what makes this such a enthralling and deeply moving film is that it's the old story of justice being done in a theme that had not been touched yet by a major film before 1993. And in the end, none of that matters anymore. The last five minutes just mourn a great human being with old super 8 videos of his childhood and anyone who can still hold their tears back at that point can't possibly have a heart. Outstanding.
Super Reviewer
December 3, 2011
This movie was made for a specific audience that no longer exists. As a fictional story it doesn't really narrate an honest tale as much as set up moment after moment to preach about prejudice, homophobia and AIDS. These lessons are now obvious 20 years later, and the film's own stereotyping of a gay person is blazingly obvious (The gay man likes to have gay sex in a gay porn theater. The gay man is actually sensitive and wistfully cries during an opera. The gay man can't resist putting on a military uniform for Halloween). Unfortunately, this story was ripped off from a real victim who died only a few years earlier than this production, and the producers didn't ask for permission or give any ounce of credit to the man. They were sued by the victim's family for unacknowledged exploitation of his life. That leaves a bitter taste.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2007
This is a very compelling movie and outlines the differculties that homosexuals had at one stage!
its a story that you can relate feel compension and emphasize with the storyline is very good !
the acting was amazing with tom hanks giving his superb acting once again with denzel also pulling in an amazing performance!
i couldnt feel but let down and disappointed by this movie i had high expectations but the movie didnt deliver especially towards the end i think the movie could have been a bit more emotional and pull at my heartstrings a bit more but nevertheless a decent compelling movie that is worth the watch!
Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2007
If anything, this made me more afraid of AIDS than less, what with those boils growing on Tom Hanks's face. Philadelphia is a touch didactic - which I guess it has to be given the subject matter and the time period - but it's intriguing watching people interact in the face of a crisis.
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2007
I love Tom Hanks. I love him, I admire him. Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, and now this ?! I thought he gave a great performance in his latest movie, Charlie Wilson's War, but I have now officially seen Hanks's best performance (after Forrest Gump).
This movie was, to me, truly moving and heartbreaking. Jonathan Demme did a great job as director, but the script - and Tom Hanks - is what supported the whole movie. Plus, the soundtrack was terrific.

A movie I'll remember for th rest of my days.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2010
Those who know me know that I'm an ardent supporter of gay rights, so don't take this the wrong way. "Philadelphia" is, pure and simple, a gay rights propaganda film. Its purpose is to make a point rather than to tell a story. Its story isn't told in nearly as much detail or as thoroughly as it could have been. The writers instead opt to remind us, time and time again, that the public doesn't like homosexuals and that homosexuals aren't bad people. Great, we get it.

I watched "Philadelphia" to see an interesting legal story about a man suing his employer for wrongful termination, and instead I get a propaganda film disguised as a big-box drama. If you're going to the movies to watch the filmmaker make a point, "Philadelphia" should serve you well. If, like myself, you're there to see good, quality storytelling, this film may not be for you.
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2007
many better movies on this subject, watch longtime companion instead
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2007
Yet another mediocre movie wins awards for being contraversial.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2009
Super Reviewer
½ December 13, 2006
Emotional, powerful and tragic story I ever watched. Jonathan Demme's drama film throws us into a world of pain and stark truth that is few and far between in mainstream cinema. Tom Hanks gives the most powerful performance of his career as Andrew Beckett, the afflicted lawyer. Denzel Washington is well cast as the homophobic lawyer who ultimately takes Hanks' case, and Mary Steenburgen is surprising in an uncharacteristic villain role.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2009
Poignant and groundbreaking for its time and beyond. Joe Miller is a truly complex character - morally and emotionally - played to perfection by Denzel Washington who should have been nominated at least! A few problems though: A. All the POV shots are so cloying that it takes away from the one place where I think it works - Joe watching Andrew's spiritual experience of opera. B. The court never proves sabotage. How did the papers get lost? C. The montage of baby videos at the end is way heavy-handed; I'd rather have seen more of the wake and perhaps a concrete statement on whether Joe has truly overcome his prejudice or not, although I understand why it's left to be slightly open-ended. D. And now that I'm reading over my review, I realize most of it is about Joe, which goes to show even a "groundbreaking" movie about AIDS and homosexuality has to have a straight protagonist to be marketable (in the film-about-Africa-with-a-white-protagonist way). I know Andrew is "the lead" but I'm using protagonist in the Greek dynamic character sense (one who goes through a dramatic change from beginning to end). But of course, times have changed. It's just a minor gripe.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2007
This is an emotional story and shows up the predjudice encoutered towards people with AIDS and Homosexuals. A Brillient performance from Hanks who I would not normally rate as one of the best Hollywood actors despite his reputation.
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2008
I bought this movie, watched it, and eventually gave it away. I do not miss it. Not in the slightest. Given the choice of watching this movie or contracting encephalitis, I would have to give it some thought.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2007
Thank you Jonathan Demme.
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2008
At first I was simply happy that a film on this subject was getting such a mainstream face.

But let's be honest, while the intentions were good...the film is a bit formulaic and the relationship between the to men involved seemed very clinical.
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