“Philadelphia” is the film that appeared on the screens at the end of the 20th century. At that time, it turned into the first big-budget Hollywood movie, which made it rather significant for the sphere of cinematography. This film focuses on the issues faced by people who have AIDS. It reveals them in the framework of medicine, politics, and society (Ebert, n.d.).
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The main character of the movie is Andrew Beckett. He is a lawyer, who copes with his duties easily and is known as one of the best professionals. Being homosexual, the man contacts other males and contracts AIDS one day. However, being afraid of other people’s reaction and possibility to be fired, Andrew does not inform the firm about his condition. At this time, his partner, Charles Wheeler, asks the man to take a case that deals with their main customer. He starts working hard but is actually dismissed as soon as his skin damages caused by AIDS become visible (Rovi, 2017). Andrew thinks that these events are connected, so he makes up his mind to fight the firm in court, which turns out to be almost impossible because of the firm’s reputation. Finally, he hires Joe Miller. He is an African-American lawyer who is experienced in personal injury cases. Even though homosexuals do not appeal to him, he is satisfied with the offered conditions. After trying to reach company’s management, Miller realizes that he faces discrimination similar to Andrew’s (Brenner, n.d.).
Analysis on Discrimination
The main ethical issue discussed in the movie is discrimination. For example, “Philadelphia” shows that the representatives of the general public live with a range of prejudices regarding people with AIDS (Gordon, 2013). This condition is treated as something people should be ashamed of, which also prevents them from looking for help when it is really needed. Fortunately, Andrew turns out to be strong enough to realize that he deserves equality and should not be stigmatized. Miller, his lawyer who is African American, is also treated poorly by society. He needs to take a job that allows him to earn at least some money instead of working on serious cases that can provide him with an opportunity to become a well-known professional known in this sphere. What is more critical, the director emphasizes the fact that even though two individuals are discriminated because of some issue, it does not mean that they will be willing to cooperate and share information. For instance, both characters had to deal with employment discrimination (Film International, 2015). But this common feature does not prevent Miller from having a negative attitude towards homosexuals even though he tried to get used to it and was a victim of discrimination and social prejudice himself. In a similar way, Andrew approached Miller as the last party.
“Philadelphia” shows the lives of minorities and issues they face on different levels. It attracts public’s attention to the things they rarely discuss now. Currently, the representatives of the general public fight for their rights on a regular basis and they actions are considered to be normal and expected. However, in the framework of “Philadelphia”, the determination of the main characters to oppose to the powerful firm was something unique. This movie shows that even though all people are claimed to be equal, they have different access to health care, basic rights, and are treated differently by society. The director shares his idea of treating discrimination as something wrong. He seems to encourage vulnerable populations to gather and get the support they deserved. Being focused on issues related to AIDS mainly, “Philadelphia” is not limited only to this particular ethical issue and highlights biased judgment and ungrounded decisions made by the management (Nyswaner, 2010).
Brenner, P. (n.d.). Philadelphia (1993), directed by Jonathan Demme. Web.
Ebert, R. (n.d.). Philadelphia. Web.
Film International. (2015). The trials of love, justice, and prejudice: Tom Hanks and Jonathan Demme’s film Philadelphia. Web.
Gordon, E. (2013). Two decades ago, Tom Hanks and ‘Philadelphia’ prompted changing attitudes toward HIV-AIDS. Web.
Nyswaner, R. (2010). The discrimination I wrote about in Philadelphia is still with us. Web.
Rovi (2017). Philadelphia: Synopsis. Web.