Monday, May 22, 2017

Philadelphia (1993)

I wish I had seen this film when it first came out. As the son of a huge Bruce Springsteen fan I was certainly aware of it, but I didn't actually seek out and watch it until five or so years ago. And while both viewings moved me greatly, I also felt like I was watching AIDS, homophobia and bigotry 101. I was watching this film in an After Ellen world where HIV/AIDS is still incurable, but it is also no longer a death sentence. It's amazing how fast the world can change.

It's also amazing that it took thirteen years for Hollywood to address this plague. I get that the GOP was ignoring it because they were fine with it killing off gay men and IV drug users, but homosexuals have formed the bedrock of the entertainment industry since forever. Why did it take active protesting of the Oscars and of hit films like Silence of the Lambs and Basic Instinct to get the Coastal Elites on board?

Philadelphia remains an important film worth watching for its strong performances and Demme's compassionate direction, but more so than anything it is a reminder of how slow to action even the most progressive people can be when there isn't someone actively pushing them to do right. If you want to get something done, you can't be silent.

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