Jonathan Demme did not choose to call this movie "Andy's struggle", or "prejudice against gays". Instead he decided to name the film after one of America's most proud and famous cities, Philadelphia. He chose to do it like this because it is not a story about one man and it is not a story about gays. It is a story about society and how back in 1993, we were ignorant to the HIV virus and we thought of gays and homosexuals as lesser people. Never before had any director attempted to portray this issue in a film, but it was a long over due theme that needed to be addressed. And Mr. Demme portrayed this message wonderfully through the use of complex characters. He used their transformation throughout the film and character arcs to show how we as a society acted towards this serious issue and as the story progressed, we began to see just how ignorant we all were.
The story begins with the director taking us through the streets of Philadelphia while the ever so talented Bruce Springsteen's "streets of Philadelphia" plays softly in the background. Once the short introduction comes to an end, this is when we meet our two protagonists, Andrew Beckett (played by Tom Hanks) and Joe Miller (played by Denzel Washington). It is through these two characters that the main message of the film is delivered. As the story goes on we see how each character reacts to the changes going on in their lives and in the lives of others. Thefirst scripted scene of the movie is of Both Andy and Joe sitting side by side in a lawyers office. At this point we do not know much about either character but we are introduced to who they are. Although Joe is the character depicted as society and it is really through his character arc that we see the major changes, Andy has a serious transformation as well.
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