I am writing to respond to the long article you published a couple of weeks ago [January 14]–a review article of the movie Philadelphia, by Mr. Kramer.
Reading Mr. Kramer’s review I was convinced that Philadelphia is a horrible movie–hypocritical in tone and in fact, only a cheap shot at PWA’s and those with life threatening complications caused by the HIV virus, and all in all a miserable attempt by Hollywood finally to produce a “mainstream” gay movie. And yes, I wanted to read Mr. Kramer’s review because I had not seen Philadelphia, and Kramer’s listed bona fides impressed me. Surely here was a person who could tell us the “real” scoop on this movie.
Mr. Kramer’s anger and scorn for Philadelphia and for all the people connected with the movie came across loudly and clearly in his review. He convinced me almost completely (thank heavens not totally!) I would be committing a great social sin to go and see this film. In fact, Mr. Kramer says in his review he does not want people actually to see it. “Don’t go!” “Bad movie!” “A movie with blinders . . . ” “A disservice . . . ” In fact, Mr. Kramer went on for pages about how this movie is bad, wrong, lame, incorrect, false, and misrepresentative of real life. (Movies aren’t real life, Mr. Kramer. Your life is. My life is. At least we hope.)
So, I decided not to go.
And then a very good and old friend of mine told me Philadelphia is in fact a “heart” kind of movie, filled with tenderness and lots of unexpected honesty, filled with feelings of loving and acceptance of gays and bigots alike.
“He’s nuts,” I thought, for I had read a review written by an authority–for all I know an editor of the Bible–Mr. Kramer certainly spoke from on high.
Then I couldn’t sit around. I had to go for myself.
And thanks to my friend who had not read and been dissuaded by Mr. Kramer’s review, I went and saw a wonderful movie. I experienced during this movie an intensity of feeling I did not expect at all–I never expected it! And I saw Tom Hanks give a beautiful and masterful performance that so lifted me, lifted me UP to a level of understanding and sharing in something about being an accepting and loving human being that can only be beneficial for me.
I have gratitude to the makers of this film, not repulsion, anger, or arrogance in “knowing it all.” I don’t know what a “perfect” movie is exactly. And I don’t know what “perfect” gay movie Mr. Kramer was hoping to see. Maybe one day he will write it and get it on the screen. I hope so. One thing I do know is that Philadelphia is far far beyond Mr. Kramer’s projections of anger and infamy. Gratefully!
I hope others also will go for themselves and see Philadelphia. Yes, even though it is not a laugh a minute movie, and no one should be fooled about that, it is also not a somber, depressing lie, as Mr. Kramer claims. And no, everyone who suffers from AIDS in their life is not portrayed in Philadelphia, and no one should expect that. Still, some lives are. And I think the “heart” is too.
In sum, I remember a saying: “Turn your face to Love and Love will see you. Turn your face away from Love, and You will not see Love.” No one should be turned or shamed away from the love shared, given, and portrayed in the movie Philadelphia.
S. Plymouth Court