Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Hailed as a landmark film that dazzles with deep emotion and exceptional acting, Philidelphia is the story of two competing lawyers who join forces to sue a prestigious law firm for AIDS discrimination. And as their unlikely friendship develops, their courage overcomes the prejudice and corruption of their powerful adversaries.
    (Sony Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Christopher Matthews
    Jonathan Demme's long-awaited Philadelphia is so expertly acted, well-meaning and gutsy that you find yourself constantly pulling for it to be the definitive AIDS movie. [14 Jan 1994, p.13]
  2. 88
    The story is timely and powerful, and the performances of Hanks and Washington assure that the characters will not immediately vanish into obscurity.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    On a scene-by-scene basis, in terms of performance and the grave issues under consideration, the film is quite absorbing.
  4. 70
    It's less like a film by Demme than the best of Frank Capra. It is not just canny, corny and blatantly patriotic, but compassionate, compelling and emotionally devastating.
  5. Still, Philadelphia is comprised of enough “little moments” that provide all the richness and grace we need to get us past the film's more inelegant moments. Primary here are the transcendent lead performances by Hanks and Washington, both of whom are, at all times, exciting to watch.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Demme's filmmaking makes up in sincerity what it lacks in originality, and he gets a remarkable amount of emotional mileage from simple close-ups of expressive faces. [24 Dec 1993]
  7. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    Directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, this AIDS courtroom drama is so pumped full of nitrous oxide, you could get your teeth drilled on it.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Nov 6, 2011
    This movie has raw emotion and stellar performances from all of the actors involved. The subject matter is carried firmly and pulls no punches with the sadness that AIDS brings into people's lives. See this for Tom Hanks' amazing transformation, but also for Denzel Washington who's character has flaws and is perhaps the most realistic personification in the entire production. Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    "Philadelphia" is the story of Andrew Beckett (Hanks), a promising young lawyer at an upscale law firm. When the homosexual Beckett suddenly contracts AIDS he is fired unfairly fired from his workplace. Beckett then seeks the help of a small time homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller (Washington), to establish a wrongful dismissal case. Now from initial premise and the fact that I had heard Tom Hanks earned a Best Actor Oscar for his performance, I was expecting a fairly memorable movie. And I got one. Tom Hanks delivers one of his best and most moving performances with his portrayal of Beckett. Probably one of the most dynamic roles I've ever seen Hanks take on. He starts out as such a vibrant young man, yet as the film progresses, Beckett's illness does as well. Consequently, the audience witnesses the decline of a seemingly healthy man to a man who's body has been ravaged by an incurable disease. It's really quite heartbreaking. Tom Hanks worked well for this Oscar. Along side Hanks is Washington, who also gives a fine performance as the conflicted lawyer Miller. Like Beckett, Miller goes through a significant change as well - only his soul changes, not his health. It's really quite interesting to see Washington and Hanks work together on screen, as I've never seen it happen in any other film. The film also features a very well written script and a very nice direction from Jonathon Demme. The ending of this film is really quite something, and. . .yeah, I'll say it - the conclusion of this film was really intense for me to watch. Pretty emotional stuff. Overall I felt that "Philadelphia" is a poignant tale that succeeds in addressing many issues that have often been neglected in our time. I felt that it was filled to the brim with fine performances and palpable pathos. It's a great movie that I won't soon forget. Awesome. Expand
  3. Rusty
    May 18, 2010
    This is a touching movie on a topic that at the time was swept to the background by society and the media. Demme et al were very brave to make this movie and will certainly stand the test of time for the way it is made and the issues that it tackles. Expand
  4. JayH.
    Sep 23, 2009
    Very powerful drama, beautifully and sensitively acted by Tom Hanks. Fine supporting cast. It's a sad film, but it doesn't leave the viewer depressed. Good direction and screenplay, well photographed and an excellent score. Collapse
  5. Jul 2, 2013
    Very emotional, i almost cry by the beauty of this film. Denzel Washington wanted some rap opera sucks. Tom Hanks look more macho men whit the short hair. Expand
  6. May 29, 2011
    It's a good movie. It should reveal the fact that some characters are caricatured as defense attorney, the exaggeration of torture by which the character of Tom Hanks is in court, among other things. It is even more important It and relevant all the context of prejudices that come behind AIDS and a host of problems that are well discussed. The disease, when discovered and known to few in the 1980s, fit in socially the gays in a kneecap perverse and that still remains in the heads closer. That is the importance of the film. Expand
  7. Mar 2, 2011
    This movie was the beginning of the end for me going to the movies regularly. For such a serious drama it sure didn't make sense in that the ACLU didn't take the case. Please. With Tom Hanks in the witness chair I was saying to myself, "Just have him show the lesions." And so it happened. I hate knowing what will happen or what should happen. When the lights came up in the theater, everyone was sitting their silently and looking at one another puzzled and they were no doubt saying to one another what we were: "That movie stunk. Who said it was any good. It didn't make sense." And we are from Philadelphia. Not that the title had anything to do with the movie except it was set in Philadelphia. Over the years my movie going has tapered off to the point that I can go years without going to the movies. Then I go and never want to go again. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews