Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Philadelphia (1993)

 Can you hear the heartache in her voice? Can you feel it, Joe?

There are only a few films of Philadelphia’s ilk that will make it into my Movie Clip of the Week. This isn’t through lack of sentiment, but more through a personal enjoyment of the more sensationalist genres such as horror and sci-fi. But I have more than found a place this week for Jonathan Demme’s powerful and touching story of Andrew Beckett’s fight against both AIDS and his  former employee; Wyant Wheeler Hellerman Tetlow and Brown.

I have chosen the “La Mamma Morta” scene, as it is without doubt one of the most finely crafted and emotional moments in modern film history. The camera angles and changes in lighting reflect so much of the raw emotion eminating from Hanks’ performance, mixed so effectively with Washington’s understated performance as Joe Miller, a man to whom some of the prejudices regarding the infamous diesase ring most true.

The polar perspectives on life seen between Washington and Hanks characters is apparent immediately, as Washington glances impatiently at his watch, whilst Hanks savours and pauses over life, allowing it to wash over him. Depending on where you stand, you sway between the two characters, as even Miller, so difficult to read as he listens, is pulled into Beckett’s emotional narrative of the opera. Not just within this scene, but in the entire movie there  is a timeless lesson to be learnt, and I recommend grabbing a copy if it’s been a few years, or maybe never since you last saw this classic.

Thanks for watching, look out for next week’s, I’m always trying to get as many out as I can!


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