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A Reaction Paper on the Movie Philadelphia

Essay by   •  February 28, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,532 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,864 Views

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SANCHEZ, Therese Alyssa Monique “TAM” T.   PHILO36 MWF 9:30AM-10:30AM


Philadelphia is a movie directed by Jonathan Demme and was released in the year 1993. The story revolved around a lawyer named Andrew Beckett who was battling with the disease called AIDS. And because of this, he didn’t only face the aches of this stigmatized ailment but the criticisms and judgment of his co-workers as well. He was fired from his job and this is where a number of ethical issues come in.

As an audience born in the culture of differences that comes with the irony that we are also born with the difficulty to accept a difference, one issue that has been opened in my eyes ever since I saw the world in a different perspective and was very hard not to take notice in the film, was the issue of discrimination. It is so rampant in the world today that I consider it the biggest ethical issue that took place in the film. Beckett’s discrimination did not only come from the most obvious things like him being fired from his job or not given the right to stand up for himself but also from the small things like the judging looks he got from the people around him. Some gestures were given differently towards him by the majority of the people when they found out he was carrying such a deadly disease. People gave him looks maybe without any intention of doing so but gave Beckett the feeling of being badly different from the rest. AIDS was always associated with homosexuality-another taboo and hardly accepted truth in the society where the movie took place in and even today-and this was another given reason to judge Beckett and treat him differently, even badly, aside from his illness. Despite of the fact that he was one of the most competent and outstanding lawyers of the law firm he was working in, he was right away fired because of the loss of important documents vital to his line of work. This raised questions whether he was kicked out of the job because of the mistake he has done or because of the disease and his sexual orientation. As the film progressed, it was proved that it was definitely the latter. This crossed the line of morality where we believe that each and everyone is equal no matter what we have and what we don’t. Instead of helping someone who was fighting an incurable disease, they turned their backs on him instead and chose to act like it was nothing. He was deprived of his rights to voice out and fight for a job he worked hard for. Just because he had a deadly disease does not mean he was incapable of meeting the standards of the job but his bosses thought otherwise and this is where the notion of discrimination was clearly depicted in the film. If we recall, he was promoted because he was good at what he was doing but it all took a turn. Another scene of high-key discrimination was in the library scene where Beckett was researching about his case and was asked to transfer to a much more private place to do it for some reason maybe because of it being taboo. The film was set in the year 1993 yet we still have the same issue as of today. Gender discrimination is very rampant and have been topics of moral issues. We have different point of views in this matter at hand but it only goes down to one thing -- no one has the right to bring down or downgrade anyone who is different from the “norms” we have set in this society, no matter who you are and no matter what circumstance. Morality does not mean meeting the standards of society nor is morality about being a straight boy or girl, morality is everyone whatever color they are on the rainbow. Being different is not immoral, choosing a different path is not immoral. It’s immoral when we choose to step on something we should have all helped pulling up.

Beckett was deprived of his rights as a person right when his illness was made known. His loss of rights, for me, became another topic for discussion in line with morality. The voice we all have used to speak for ourselves was taken away in his case when he was instantly kicked out from his office without given the opportunity to justify himself. The right to stand up for himself was completely withheld as he couldn’t fight for the rights he supposedly had to keep and stay in his job. Every person has the right to know what’s in it for him with the things he is putting himself into which clearly didn’t happen in Beckett’s case. He was fired with reasons almost as satisfying as drinking a droplet of water when you haven’t drank for a thousand years. He was sick, even terminally sick and to put it in a more unfortunate circumstance, he was jobless. He didn’t have a say to any of the things that was happening to him even when it was him who was greatly part of the issue and even when everything that was happening was supposed to be up to him. The point there is not for him to be treated specially just because he had AIDS but for him to be treated like an actual human being who must have a stand and say to the things happening to him. With what happened to Beckett, he was barely treated like a living person. He was treated like he was the actual disease himself.



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