Added: 3 years ago
[scene opens inside of a law library, as a male librarian hands a book to Andrew Beckett]
LIBRARIAN: Sir? This is the supplement ...
[the librarian takes off his glasses]
LIBRARIAN: You're right. There is a section on HIV-related discrimination.
[as the surrounding patrons start looking in his direction, Beckett begins obliviously leafing through the book]
ANDREW: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
[camera zooms in on Joe Miller's face as he sits at an opposite table, then cut back to the librarian as he continues to stand above Beckett]
LIBRARIAN: We do have a private research room available.
[Andrew, not realizing what the librarian is suggesting, continues leafing through the book]
ANDREW: I'm fine right here. Thank you.
Demme, Jonathan (Director). Philadelphia. United States: TriStar Pictures, 1993.
Starring: Tracey Walter (Librarian); Tom Hanks (Andrew Beckett); Denzel Washington (Joe Miller)
The law library scene where attorney Joe Miller first humanizes AIDS victim Andrew Beckett features a male librarian gently urging the coughing and ailing man to move to a private research room. Beckett refuses, and other patrons move away. The scene is realistic and the librarian's behavior not (IMHO) unreasonable under the circumstances. A librarian tries to negotiate a peaceful environment for all patrons. He is respectful and doesn't insist Beckett leave. The purpose of the scene is for Miller (and viewers) to see how Beckett is treated in a society that fears him and misunderstands his disease. The point is made without the librarian being unprofessional.
In "Philadelphia" (1993), Tracey Walter portrays an insensitive and repugnant librarian. AIDS-afflicted Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), recently fired by a prestigious law firm, believes that he was fired because of AIDS rather than incompetence as the law firm alleges. He initiates a wrongful dismissal suit against his former employer, and while researching his case in a law library, the librarian approaches Andrew with a book, announcing "This is the supplement," and lays the volume on the table next to Andrew. Taking off his eyeglasses, the librarian remarks, "You're right. There is a section on HIV-related discrimination." Andrew opens the supplement and thanks the librarian, who remains standing near Andrew, commenting that "a private research room is available." Andrew responds the table is suitable. The librarian, however, remains at the table; his actions indicate that he is mulling over something. Finally Andrew looks up at him, and the librarian asks, "Wouldn't you be more comfortable in a research room?" Andrew now realizes that AIDS is the librarian's problem; as he pauses and looks around the library, it is evident that everyone in the library is aware of the librarian's desire to get him out of the reading room and into a private room. Andrew coughs, then responds, "No. Would it make you more comfortable?" Andrew and the librarian are at an impasse; another attorney, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), who is working at a nearby table, comes to greet and assist Andrew. The librarian maintains his position at the table as the two attorneys talk; Joe gives the librarian a nod with his head, indicating everything is all right. "Whatever, sir," the librarian remarks as he departs. As soon as the librarian leaves to resume his other tasks, a patron (seated at the same table as Andrew) gathers his materials and leaves.