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This review is from: Philadelphia (DVD)
An attorney at a large law firm (Tom Hanks) is fired under fraudulent circumstances when his colleagues suspect--correctly--that he suffers from AIDS. Unable to retain more prestigious representation, he turns to a homophobic ambulance chaser (Denzel Washington) to present his case.
As the first big Hollywood production to deal with AIDS and homosexuality, it can be forgiven for relying on courtroom intrigue instead of placing faith in the very real drama of a terminal disease. This was probably necessary to get the film past executives who must have been wary of the public's tolerance and the reception they would grant such material. To the credit of director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, the dramatic balance shifts away from legal shenanigans as the film progresses, leaving us with a terribly moving finale. This fine film may be imperfect in the tone it strikes, but it is a groundbreaking effort and worthy of a place on your shelf. Hanks and Washington deliver fantastic performances.