What I knew going in: The story
Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) is a lawyer who is wrongfully fired by his partners after they find out he has AIDS. He hires another lawyer, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to defend him during his trial. Joe has to grapple with his own homophobia as he gets to know Andrew and fights for justice.
I love courtroom dramas. I haven't came across many that I didn't like and thankfully this didn't go that route either. I do think it played it rather safe. There are better films out there that address the AIDS crisis within the gay community. I feel like the filmmakers really wanted to touch on it, but were too afraid of how the public would take it.
Tom Hanks is wonderful in this. You can see the pain in his eyes throughout. Denzel also brings his A game. Sometimes I wanted to laugh with Joe, and others I wanted to scream at him. He could've easily been completely unlikable but Denzel never lets it get to that.
This film however has some pretty major faults. The first is that Andy and Joe are really the only fleshed out characters. Everyone else feels like a caricature. Scowling lawyer, asshole boss, sexy lover. No one else felt like they had a personality. I also found the constant close ups of the actors' faces to be completely distracting. Everyone made fun of Tom Hooper for doing that in Les Miserables but this one felt way more excessive. Still, aside from that I enjoyed this film and as always, I'm glad I got around to it.
Memorable Quote: "Explain this to me like I'm a four year old." - Joe Miller (Denzel Washington)