RELEASED 1993 RUNTIME 126 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION JONATHAN DEMME SCREENPLAY RON NYSWANER STARRING TOM HANKS, DENZEL WASHINGTON, JASON ROBARDS, ANTONIO BANDERAS, JOANNE WOODWARD, ROBERT W. CASTLE, MARY STEENBURGEN MUSIC HOWARD SHORE
The movie tells a story of a lawyer called Andrew Beckett who after being promoted by his boss rather quickly and surprisingly gets fired because he has AIDS AND is gay (it’s not a spoiler, it happens in the first 5 minutes of the movie). So, essentially it’s a tale about a guy who is being discriminated and ego then fights against his former bosses in front of court.
It’s not a biopic, but feels very much like it because it spans over a few years, if I recall correctly. However, it is very much inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers who just happened to go through a similar situation.
Tom Hanks as Andrew Backett of course has a fantastic performance, which he also won the Oscar for. There is this opera scene which alone is just mind-blowing and most likely won him the Oscar. But for me the highlight of the movie was Danzel Washington as his lawyer defending him in court. The back and forth between these two and their relationship is super interesting because Danzel’s character is homophobic to quite an extend and very uninformed about AIDS. What that means I want you to see for yourself. It makes for quite some funny scenes which are ridiculous and tragic at the same time. Thank god we know better today!
My only real gripe is that it never really gets explained why Danzel’s character feels ok with defending Andrew Backett in front of court, even though he is full of prejudice. There are scenes where he is clearly outspoken about gays and homosexuals in general, but then there are scenes where he is the opposite and holds up the flag for human rights??? Did I miss something? Where did this change of heart occur, especially since he is jumping back and forth with his opinion. In other words, his motivations are not clear and just confuse me.
But other than that it is a pretty good drama and captures the mindset of the early 90’s when things like homosexuality and AIDS where unexplored topics. It nicely shows how, excuse me, stupid people where back in the day, granted, they just didn’t know better.