Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Capote

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Capote

Article excerpt

Capote * Directed by Bennett Miller * Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman * Sony Pictures Classics

Truman Capote cut a florid figure late in life, offering up sharp-tongued bons mots on TV talk shows and generally spending more time in the gossip pages than at his work. People who know only the Capote who dismissed author Jack Kerouac with the memorable slam 'That's not writing. That's typing" could be forgiven for thinking Capote was just a celebrity, not an artist who revolutionized journalism. The movie Capote should enlighten them.

Unquestionably one of the best movies of the year, Capote details the signal triumph of Capote's long career--the reporting and writing of In Cold Blood, a remarkable best seller about a multiple homicide in Middle America and the men who committed it. The book exploded conceptions of what was possible in nonfiction, and the openly gay Capote influenced writers and reporters for generations to come.

At the center of the film is Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote. Hoffman has wowed us repeatedly in movies like Boogie Nights and on Broadway in such productions as Long Day's Journey Into Night, so we expect brilliance: We get it. Capote could easily be portrayed as a vain, silly figure-played for laughs, as gay men, especially "sissies," so often are. But Hoffman exhibits the keen intelligence and seductive empathy that helped this exotic creature win the trust of informants as disparate as high school girls, the head of the investigation, and, especially, killer Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr. …

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