Critic Reviews



Based on 21 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
And yet Philadelphia is quite a good film, on its own terms. And for moviegoers with an antipathy to AIDS but an enthusiasm for stars like Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, it may help to broaden understanding of the disease.
The story is timely and powerful, and the performances of Hanks and Washington assure that the characters will not immediately vanish into obscurity.
On a scene-by-scene basis, in terms of performance and the grave issues under consideration, the film is quite absorbing.
Philadelphia fails to create complex characters or finely nuanced drama, but it succeeds in its real goal; the education of an audience whose thinking about AIDS and gay life has been shaped by notions of perversion and divine retribution.
The New York Times
In the end, thanks to such effects and to the simple grace of Mr. Hanks's performance, this film does accomplish what it means to. Philadelphia rises above its flaws to convey the full urgency of its difficult subject, and to bring that subject home.
The New Yorker
The result is an unorthodox blend of courtroom drama and old-style weepie, and somehow it comes off. [23 Dec 1993]
Still, Philadelphia is comprised of enough “little moments” that provide all the richness and grace we need to get us past the film's more inelegant moments. Primary here are the transcendent lead performances by Hanks and Washington, both of whom are, at all times, exciting to watch.
But Philadelphia turns out to be a scattershot liberal message movie, one that ties itself in knots trying to render its subject matter acceptable to a mass audience.
For all its weaker aspects, it is to be recommended as a denunciation of intolerence made with understanding, compassion, and some humour.
Directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, this AIDS courtroom drama is so pumped full of nitrous oxide, you could get your teeth drilled on it.

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