Philadelphia

Movie review by Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Philadelphia Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Moving, Oscared '90s drama fostered AIDS empathy.

PG-13 1993 125 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 11 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

AIDS drama has strong Hanks as the anchor

While the rest of this 90s movie is a bit predictable (and emotionally manipulative at the end), there is still no denying the strong acting power in Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, who have a great chemistry as an odd couple of sorts. Of course, Hanks is the one you come here for, and it's a safe bet that what got him that Oscar is the opera scene, a truly heart-wrenching moment in his character's life, caught up in the beauty of something he loves so much despite his circumstances. Nowadays this type of procedural film about a man with AIDS could be studio Oscar bait, but with Hanks at the helm, giving this man a warmth and humor and relatabililty, he is fully fleshed out. I also found it a great choice that they had Denzel play this part: ironically because African-Americans have been prejudiced so much, and his character, though he defends Hanks, is strongly anti-gay. It just reveals the horrific pecking order of our society, though I'm glad to say much has changed. The language is only nasty when slurs come in the picture, so if your movie buff teen wants to see this at a younger age I think you should let them. It's great acting and a great message of tolerance.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
age 15+

A "Gay Movie" for Straight People

I'm a fan of Jonathan Demme and I have an interest in LGBT themes, so I decided to check this film out. This is powerful and emotional, and very well done. The trial scenes are particularly powerful and convincing. Homophobia and AIDS discrimination are huge themes in this film. This film raises the discussion of different AIDS victims being "guilty" or "innocent" (as in, was the disease transmitted through their sexual encounters or through something they couldn't control, like a blood transfusion) which is a sensitive topic and not brought up often in film. However, you can tell that the target audience is straight people, because the lives of gay people are not portrayed with great accuracy, and it sort of sugarcoats some things. At the time, this movie was considered a shift in the way LGBT people are portrayed in Hollywood, to being more realistic. But it feels kind of staged and fake in some parts, mostly the parts involving Andy Beckett's personal life. I also heard they cut out some scenes where Andy Beckett and his boyfriend Miguel were being more affectionate, including a scene where they were laying in bed together. They probably thought the straight audience couldn't handle that. By the standards of the time that this film came out, scenes involving gay people in this movie were much more accurate than other movies. Overall I enjoyed the film.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Movie Details

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