Philadelphia Review

I decided to watch the movie Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. I watched this movie a couple years ago and forgot how powerful and emotional the message was. Without a doubt I knew this was something that I had to write about. I went back and watched the movie and noticed some things that I didn’t catch the first time I watched it. I decided to elaborate and talk about the emotional factors of this movie and what I gained from it. 

I did research on the movie and found that this was the first movie to fully depict the AIDS crisis. In this movie they were able to take on misconceptions and injustices that took place during the AIDS epidemic. The main character of the movie, Andy (Tom Hanks) is a successful lawyer who everyone in his office loves and a Gay man living with AIDS. One day he is fired over a mishap that seemed to be planned, but Andy realizes that it wasn’t the mishap that had him fired, but the lesions on his forehead which is one of the outward signs of AIDS. At first Andy searches for a lawyer, all 10 lawyers he sees refuse to take his case. One of the most pivotal scenes for me was seeing his face on the crowded street. You can see the sadness and frustration which makes the audience feel for Andy at this moment. Andy then finally chooses Joe (Denzel Washington). At first Joe declines, but then realizes that they may have something in common. Whether its race, gender, or sexuality, no one deserves to be discriminated against. 

This movie took the most unmentionable and taboo subjects at that time and brought them to light to Hollywood and audiences everywhere. As controversial as it was, this movie was able to move a lot of people and I think it was able to help people think differently as well.  What moved me most about this movie was that as Andy’s health was declining, he still pursued his law firm to have them answer for their unethical role in his termination. While I may not be able to relate to this movie, I started to think about the injustices that I or someone else may face; as an African American or a woman in the legal system. I may be faced with things others may not understand, but learning to be open and accepting to people who have different stories than us, can change the way we look at things. Seeing the way Joe wasn’t accepting at first, but came to terms with Andy was really what made this a great movie. While Joe’s lifestyle may have been different, he was able to accept Andy’s lifestyle.   

From a cinematic perspective I think the close-ups of Andy’s face and the silence placed at different parts of the movie was able to make the audience somewhat uncomfortable and maybe even emotional. This movie was able to open the doors for other controversial movies and topics as well as bring light to the LGBT community. The movie also shows a lot of details of the AIDS epidemic and doesn’t let up. The audience is able to see the intimate details of what it’s like to live with disease which makes this even more of a cinematic masterpiece in my opinion. We also get to see things from Joe’s perspective outside of the courtroom and are able to learn that his life is very dimensional. One of the things I loved most about this movie was that I was also able to see the character’s life outside of the courtroom. We get to see Joe at first have a hatred for the Gay community, but later find acceptance for Andy and the community; as well as Andy’s life as a Gay man living with AIDS.  

In conclusion, what I gained from this film is that everyone is deserving of acceptance and to fight for whatever you may believe in. I think this movie did an amazing job of shining light on the AIDS epidemic and prejudice in general. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a legal drama as well as a tearjerker. I hope everyone is able to take away something from this movie the way I did. 

It’s not just black and white: Forgiveness in Long Night’s Journey into Day

Long Night’s journey into day is a story of truth, social justice, reconciliation, and undoubtedly forgiveness. For me, watching this documentary and seeing the awful things done and the pain the families faced was heartbreaking. I was angry watching the men put on trial for the things they did, as well as seeing the mothers wail and cry over their dead sons. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have the person that killed one of your family members sitting right in front of you asking to be set free. Although this film made me angry and heartbroken, it also gave me the ability to rethink the wrongs of others and my thoughts on vengeance. The families in this film were able to face the truth, the people who hurt them, and heal from it.

In the books we’ve been reading (Eichmann In Jerusalem, Death and the Maiden, etc.), we were faced with the ideas of revenge and retributive justice, but none of them mentioned forgiveness or restoration. Where retributive justice can be effective, I think letting the past be the past and restoring justice can build a stronger community. We want those who hurt us to pay but this documentary shows that forgiveness is the first step for healing and moving on. At the end of the documentary, one of the mothers who was talking to her son’s killer said, “forgive those who have sinned against you,” something this film has highlighted and something everyone can take notes on. 

Lack of originality of Eichmann

Eichmann and Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt was a pretty emotional and interesting book to read. Ardent’s views on the trial and her coined phrase “banality of evil.” which according to dictionary.com, the definition of banality is “the condition or quality of being banal, or devoid of freshness or originality” made you feel like you were almost in the courtroom. The book talks about how Eichmann shut down his conscience and stayed loyal to Hitler even though he technically knew what he was doing was wrong. When discussing this book in class my group talked about how he was just being loyal and thoughtless, but no one was talking about how weird that was. Being loyal to your workplace or “peer pressure” in your workplace is normal, but killing innocent people knowing that they’re innocent is beyond moral capacity. When I first read the story I thought to myself there must be something psychologically wrong with Eichmann, but the psychiatrist granted him normal, more than normal even. This is where it became weird for me because I was always under the impression that your conscience is something that could not be turned on and off, like a light switch.  

I can completely understand wanting to feel wanted and maybe even feel pressured into things sometimes, but the want to feel loyal towards someone knowing what they do is terrible is mind-boggling. It’s just very hard for me to believe that Eichmann didn’t have a guilty bone in his body and that he put himself above everything else in his life. For me to believe that Eichmann lacked a conscience and that’s the reason he committed these crimes means that I have to believe half of everyone evil lacked a conscience. The reader will never know if Eichmann is being truthful, but whether he was or not, it’s no argument that Eichmann should pay for his crimes. 

Treasured Property: Our racial reality


Cheryl Harris’ “Whiteness As Property” didn’t really come as a surprise to me, for me it put everything I was already familiar with into one article. The part that stood out the most for me was the introduction, it gives somewhat of an emotional and more personal factor which made me feel a connection to the author. Harris talks about her grandmother being able to pass as a white woman, which allowed her to get a job in Chicago’s central business district. The line that stood out the most to me was on page 276, in the fifth paragraph, “Each evening, my grandmother tired and worn, retracted her steps home, laid aside her mask, and reentered herself.” This line was heartbreaking, having to endure hateful comments from your coworkers as well as take on an identity you’re not would definitely take a toll on anyone. Being white meant better jobs, nobody subjecting you to hateful comments, and overall being seen as the “better race.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, it still means a lot of those things. I think one of the main points of this article was to say to the reader “hey, being White was treasured property in the 1930s, but it’s still a thing and we should talk about it.”   

 
Towards the end of the article, another quote was able to stand out to me was on page 286, where Harris talks about how whiteness is a “consolation prize,” she goes on to say “it does not mean that all Whites will win, but simply that they will not lose, if losing is defined as being on the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy—- the position to which blacks have been consigned.” A lot of this article, but specifically this line reminded me of a quote that has been drilled into my mind as an African American: “In order to get half of what they have, you have to work twice as hard.” Even if we were to get twice as good, we’re still sometimes reaped with half the benefits. This took a complete 180 for me right back to the introduction, Harris’ grandmother could get a job being black, but being White opened more doors for her. Being White meant that she would be able to better sustain her family and probably even make a better income, in short being White is beneficial to White people.

Justice is blind: An eye for an eye for an eye?

Being someone who has read only a few Greek playwrights, Aeschylus’s The Furies gave me a vast take on vengeance and tragedy that was unanticipated, but worthy of talking about. There are many things that could be addressed in this playwright such as the blatant gender inequality or the lack of consistency between the characters, but what I was quick to recognize was the series of “normalized” violence that took place throughout this play. Agamemnon sacrifices his youngest daughter, Iphigenia solely so that he can go to war.  Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon is upset at him for sacrificing his daughter, so she decides to stab him to death. Orestes the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemmno, decides to kill Clytemnestra for killing his father. This, among other things in this play is what puzzled me, but made me think about a real-world situation. Our society is set up in a way where in order to feel avenged, we must retaliate against those who hurt us, much like this and other Greek tragedies. 

As you dive deeper into this tragedy,  you start to see the major misogyny taking place when it comes to The Furies and their  way of thinking. The Furies claims that Orestes paying for what he did is justified because he killed his own blood, but Clytemnestra killing her husband for the murder of their daughter isn’t. Apollo, Orestes lawyer argues that Orestes and his mother aren’t really blood and uses Athena as an example of someone who doesn’t have a mother. This scene was very interesting to me because Apollo gives a convincing argument, despite the reader maybe thinking different before. Once again, I was able to relate this tragedy to the real world and how things in society and in a courtroom are never just black and white. This goes to show the most unjustifiable claims can be justified in a court of law. 

For such appalling and murderous acts that took place in this play I thought this play had an acceptable ending. It started with the furies form of justice as revenge, but ended with a legal system being set in place. This proves how important having a legal system is and how without it a society as a whole would fail. Although, vengeance and retaliation is something people will always have a hand in, justice will prevail.