Saturday, April 04, 2009

Before There was "Milk," There was "Philiadelphia"

A few weeks ago I finally got to see Sean Penn’s portrayal of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay rights activist and Politian who was gunned down in San Francisco in 1978. His Oscar-winning performance of the popular Milk was a stark contrast to his brooding and masculine portrayal of Jimmy Markhum in Mystic River, for which Penn also won an Oscar. But, before there was Penn as Milk, let’s not forget Tom Hank’s brilliant, 1993 portrayal of Andrew Beckett in Jonathan Demme’s Philiadelphia.
We see a youthful Hanks transform from a healthy, crackerjack attorney with a top law firm, to the withdrawn, gray shell of man who sues his employer for discrimination after discovering that Becket has AIDS. The scene where Becket (Hanks) is interpreting the opera, "La Mamma Morta" by Maria Callas, to his lawyer (played by Denzel Washington) still moves me to tears.

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