There are so many movies I wanted to see but missed for one reason or another. Now that we get Netflix I'm slowly catching up. This week it was "Philadelphia" with Tom Hanks in the starring role. I don't recall what year this one came out but I had wanted to see it ever since.
All I knew going into this movie was that it starred Tom Hanks, it was set in Philadelphia which is one of my favorite cities, and it was about a lawyer who had AIDS. What a surprise to find how many other big-time stars were also in it: Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Mary Steenbergen, Antonio Bandares (whose name I've probably misspelled), and biggest of all, Joanne Woodward. Woodward has a smaller role as Hanks' mother but she adds so much to the story with her acting "presence."
Hanks is a lawyer with AIDS and his partner is portrayed beautifully by Bandares, an actor I had only thought of as Zorro or a sexy love interest for a woman. The law firm, headed by Robards, sees Hanks as their shining star and gives him their biggest case but then discovers he has AIDS. At that point they sabotage his work in order to fire him for incompetence. He sues of course and is represented by a flashy ambulance chaser type of lawyer played by Denzel Washington. The firm is represented by Steenbergen in a strange bit of casting. Hers was the only character that didn't seem to fit; no fault of Steenbergen's.
I'm glad I saw this movie. It was so moving that I had a lump in my throat more than once. The support of Hanks' family was one of the best parts of the story. I probably should include the make-up department for their part in making Hanks fade away from the illness right before our eyes. But the best part of all was Tom Hanks' performance. He was totally believable as this dying lawyer, a good man and brilliant lawyer who refused to sit back and be fired under false pretenses, to be the victim of the partners' bigotry against gays. The ending left me absolutely breathless.
If you haven't ever seen this movie, please do so. It's got to be one of the best movies I've ever seen.