Gripping and affecting but never manipulatively sentimental, the film has both an engaging story and characters that the viewer genuinely cares about. Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington give top-notch, nuanced performances; Antonio Banderas does a good job as the boyfriend of Hanks’ character. The pivotal and most memorable scene in the film involves the two lead actors and the opera aria La mamma morta sung by Maria Callas, and it is spine-tinglingly brilliant and powerful. Jonathan Demme’s direction is appropriately straightforward. Nice soundtrack.