Rated: R

I’ve never known much (or anything) about Truman Capote. In fact I’d never even heard his name before my dad rented this movie long ago. My father has always been more of an action and sci-fi fan, and so it really surprised me when I went over  to visit one day, that he seemed to be enamored by this movie. He talked for about half an hour (maybe longer) about it and kept encouraging me to watch it. I asked him who the heck Capote was and he never really gave me an answer. He just said “He’s a famous author. You should really read some of his work.” I replied “have you read any of it?” He said no, but he’d already gotten me curious; so although it took 8 years, I have now finally seen Capote.

                As you may have guessed by now, Capote is a biopic about author Truman Capote and the struggles he went through to publish his last, and many say his greatest, work.  It’s set in 1959 through the mid-sixties. After reading about the brutal murder of a small town Kansas family, Capote and his best friend Harper Lee travel there in hopes of writing an article or series of articles for The New Yorker. Capote couldn’t have guessed that this would turn into a truly life changing experience.

                I’m sure that many of you out there know a great deal more about the actual Truman Capote than I do; but for those who don’t here’s a bit of what I could find. Capote wrote over 20 short stories and books over the course of his 20 year writing career, including In Cold Blood, (the title of the book he’s writing in the movie) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He also had at least a hand in over a dozen movies, both in writing them and even appearing in a few. Never one to shy from the spotlight, he made frequent appearances on talk shows including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, despite the fact that he was no longer writing in the 70’s and 80’s. He was a controversial figure from the start being both a shameless promoter of himself and one of the first openly gay celebrities. In the end he went as too many celebrities often do, to complications of alcoholism and drug addiction.

                As far as Phillip Seymore Hoffman’s portrayal of Capote in the movie, many people believe it’s his best ever, and although I don’t particularly like him as an actor, I agree. He seemed to become Capote. He seemed to have the mannerisms and speech down pat. As for his embodiment of Capote the man though, I think it fell a little short. Hoffman seems unable to hide his own egotism and pompousness, even for a short while. Was Truman Capote really that self-absorbed? Not really as far as I could find. That doesn’t mean this movie isn’t worth watching, its just best to take it with a grain of salt.

                Capote is rated R, was directed by Bennett Miller and stars Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper and Clifton Collins Jr. It is available now on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Download.