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Critic Should Get Real

January 08, 1994

More than once during his tenure as a Times film critic, Kenneth Turan has proven that he has absolutely no idea what he's writing about in his reviews. I thought he had reached his pinnacle with his review of "Mrs. Doubtfire," in which he lambasted Robin Williams for growing as an actor (and thus providing further proof to my theory that those who cannot do, write reviews). I thought as much, that is, until I read his review of "Philadelphia" ("Bittersweet 'Philadelphia,' " Dec. 22).

My objection has nothing to do with his opinion of "Philadelphia" but, instead, with his comment concerning the lead character's (Tom Hanks) family. In Mr. Turan's words, Hanks' character "has the kind of idealized support circle only people in the movies seem to manage. His parents are totally supportive, as are his siblings and their spouses." So, in the gospel according to Kenneth, if it happens in the movies, it can't be real.

Come on, Mr. Turan, wake up and smell what you're writing. . . . I have friends who suffer from AIDS, including two who have died, and I have seen what it means to them to have the love and support of parents and family members. For these people, that "support circle" you speak so cynically of in your review is what keeps them going day today.

But, wait, why am I telling you this? If you're as omnipotent as you make yourself out to be, this should all be old news. Although no one who read your review of "Philadelphia" would know this. So, maybe it's time for you to drop the jaded film critic facade and admit that things aren't quite as hopeless as you wish they were.

JOHN E. McELLIGOTT JR.

Fullerton

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