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The comment below is fascinating.  The author both asserts that "in the
process [the film] aligned our relationship and identification with
gay people" etc. AND that the viewer identifies with Denzel Washington's
phobia and the Hanks' character's loving family.  BUT THIS IS PRECISELY
NOT IDENTIFYING WITH THE GAY CHARACTER (HANKS) BUT WITH THE STRAIGHT
ONES.  Of course this strategy is familiar from mainstream attempts to
represent various minorities, and it is not an entirely objectionable
strategy, but (and I think this is what the films critics want to point
out) this is a limited and conservative strategy.  It is the film's
limitations which are being underlined and its strategy which is
under discussion.  The fact that our identification is not in the main
with the dying Hanks character only underlines the limitations of the
film.
--Edward R. O'Neill, UCLA
 
>
> Wins out?  Against?  Good grief, this ongoing argument against
> Philadelphia and Tom Hanks reveals some of the most paranoid, precious,
> overanalyzed nonsense ever.  It almost makes one want to take sides with
> those rightists who point out the dangers of political correctness.  If
> anything, Philadelphia gave viewers the opportunity to identify with Denzel
> Washington's fears or with Hanks' loving family and in the process
> aligned our relationship and identification with gay people in a way
> previously never allowed in a Hollywood movie.
>