Movie Spotlight: Philadelphia and HIV Awareness


Philadelphia (1993)

Rated PG-13: For Language and Sensitive Themes

Running Time:  126 minutes (2 hours and 5 minutes)

Genre/s: Drama

Release on December 24, 1993 (US Release Date; Available for Worldwide Viewing)

Distributed by TriStar Pictures

Written: Ron Nyswaner

Director: Jonathan Demme

  • Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett
  • Denzel Washington as Joe Miller

Perhaps one of the most notable film that tackles the issue of HIV/AIDS is the movie, Philadelphia. Directed by the acclaimed American director, screenwriter and producer, Jonathan Demme, the same man who directed the award-winning movie in 1991, Silence of the Lambs, where he won the Academy Award for Best Director at the 64th Academy Awards ceremony. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our spotlight of this timely, thought-provoking film.

What is the movie about?

Andrew Beckett, portrayed by Hanks (Cast Away), a senior associate of a law firm, was illegally dismissed by his partners. At first his partners claim that the reason for his dismissal was that he was incompetent, not being able to perform the task assigned to him.    

Later on, he found out that the reason for his dismissal from the firm was because his partners found out about his homosexuality and his present condition, being diagnosed as having HIV.  He asked the service of a personal injury lawyer named Joe Miller, portrayed by Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), who declined to take on the case, thinking that he might contract the disease himself.  

With no one to help him, Beckett decides to represent himself in court, studying at a public library. Miller saw Beckett at the library being discriminated for his condition, decides to help Beckett with his case. 

Philadelphia is the film that gave Tom Hanks his first Academy Award for Best Actor during the 66th Academy Awards in 1993.  He would again win The Academy Award for Best Actor during the sixty-seventh Academy Award ceremonies in 1994 for his portrayal as Forrest Gump. Two consecutive wins for Thomas Jeffrey Hanks.

Philadelphia is one of those films that just shows everyone that AIDS is no joke at all. It is deadly, and it is incurable at the moment. The moment one contracts the sickness, thee is almost no chance at surviving it. Worse, everyone is vulnerable to it. Since we are talking about HIV, it might be fitting that we present to you guys a press release regarding about this. Read on please ...

HIV awareness must be made more understandable for young adults

Only 15 percent of young adults aged 15 to 24 years old have knowledge about HIV prevention, a UNAIDS Philippines study showed. The lack of an extensive sex education in the curriculum is seen as a contributing factor—directly or indirectly—to the country’s high HIV growth rate.

Durex Philippines recently launched its "Always Come Prepared" campaign that aims create HIV awareness and help prevent it. Key organizations-UNAIDS, Love Yourself, and advocates from the medical field, and Boys Night Out (BNO), joined hands with Durex on its mission to curb HIV in the country. 

UNAIDS Country Director for the Philippines Dr. Louie Ocampo shares that if the current trend of reported new HIV cases in the country, we are seeing tripling of numbers at about "265,000 cases by the end of 2028-2029."

Discussions on the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV have always been done in extremes – either it is too technical and clinical or it is peppered with myths and falsehoods – creating a large disconnect with young adults, the audience who matter the most. 

(L-R) BNO's Slick Rick, Reckitt Benckiser Read for regulatory Atty. Ricky Salvador, Sex Therapist Dr. Rica Cruz, UNAIDS Country Director for the Philippines Dr. Louie Ocampo, Reckitt Benckiser General Manager Chris Ritchie, Infectious Diseases Expert Dr. Marion Kwek, Love Yourself and Safe Spaces advocate Losif Cadelina, and BNO's Toni Tony and Sam YG.
“We believe that education is the best way to prevent HIV, especially among the young adults. If they are equipped with the right knowledge about HIV and its potential risks to their health, we believe that they stand a chance in protecting themselves against the chronic disease,” said (Karol Canlas) Durex Philippines (Brand Manager).

In September, Durex Philippines took the playful and quirky approach to bringing HIV awareness to mind with the launch of its “Always Come Prepared” campaign. Led by the radio trio of Sam YG, Tony Toni, and Slick Rick, the campaign aims to make the conversation on the threats and dangers of the disease lighter and easier to understand for the general public.  

To pique the interests of young adults on the campaign, Durex also presented a unique visual of a toy soldier using the condom as a parachute. 

“Their openness and tongue-in-cheek manner of talking about sex-related issues and concerns, particularly HIV, is a good way for us to reach the younger audience. Medical experts have long talked about the dangers of HIV, but why is it still rising in the Philippines? The message must have been lost somewhere,” said (Chrisel Segundo, Category Manager – Relief and Wellness).

Condoms are still the only known effective method of preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. With its latest campaign, Durex Philippines aims to raise awareness and encourage the public to take active precautionary measures against HIV. 

And with that, we hope that you were enlightened by our little public service announcement. To conclude, here is the theme song of the film. The music video of this movie - Streets of Philadelphia, with music and lyrics by "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen, was co-directed by Jonathan Demme together with his nephew Ted Demme. It won for Bruce Springsteen the Best Original Song at the 66th Academy Awards in 1993 as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.  It also garnered 4 Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and Best Song Written for a Motion Picture. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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