Capote (2005)

That big ball of fluffy awesomeness Jordan is running a Philip Seymour Hoffman blogathon over at his site Epileptic Moondancer. As such – here is a review of my favourite Hoffman film


Capote – film review

I’m sure I won’t be the only person who chooses to review Capote so I won’t drone on for too long about the plot. Basically it’s a biopic about the sensational writer Truman Capote.

The film focuses specifically on Truman’s masterpiece In Cold Blood (1965) and much of the film is set in Holcomb, Kansas where he went with friend Harper Lee to investigate the aftermath of a hideous family murder. Truman was initially just going to write a newspaper article but soon realised there was a much bigger story involved and decided to write the world’s first ever “non-fiction novel” – In Cold Blood, which was also turned into a film, in 1967. But whereas In Cold Blood (the movie from 1967) deals with the direct aftermath of the crime, the film Capote simply depicts how Truman wrote his book in the first place.

It’s an interesting story, mainly because of the murderers themselves and Truman’s relationship with them. Perry Smith in particular he grows very close to.


I’m a big Truman Capote fan, which is why I watched the film in the first place. But it really doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of him or not, in fact the story may be even better if you’ve not read In Cold Blood, as it will have more mystery and intrigue.

I wonder if it was fun for Hoffman, playing someone as outrageous and unapologetic as Truman Capote. Truman was an interesting man, undoubtedly very smart and talented and from reading his work I believe he was an empathetic man as well. But he had an air of selfishness. And he wanted to be adored. Of course he was a great contender to the pretentious world of ‘society’ as well, showing off with various celebrities and travelling all around the world. (I would have loved to have been there).

Capote differs to its 2006 counterpart Infamous by showing Capote in a more warts and all fashion. He was a self-centred bastard at times (obsessed with being the best really) and he is depicted here at letting nothing get in the way of In Cold Blood. His obsession with Perry borderlines on….well I’m not sure what it borderlines on. Love? Lust? Or getting to the top of the book charts. Their relationship is further explored in Infamous, but within Capote, you definitely see the more egotistical side of Truman, however ambiguous it might be.

Capote is a very emotional and poignant film. Whether you’re a fan of the guy or not, whether you’ve read his books or not – it doesn’t matter, it’s a film to make you think. About life, about people, about choices and chances. One of my favourite film quotes is actually in this movie. Truman is discussing the sensitive Perry and muses how he and Perry are very similar people who simply had different chances in life. He says –

“It’s as if Perry and I grew up in the same house. And one day he stood up and went out the back door, while I went out the front.”

Isn’t that nice? I wish people could have more empathy for those around them. Life isn’t always a bowl of salad you know – and thank goodness for that as I prefer potatoes, chorizo and cheese anyway. And mayonnaise. Am I going off topic? I just loving talking about food. PASTRY!

Anyway, Hoffman’s performance in this film is undoubtedly brilliant. Just like all of his performances. I do think there could perhaps be an extra sparkle of brilliance in his Capote role though. Let’s face it, Truman was fairly ‘camp’ and of course there was his distinctive voice to perfect. I always think of the late Hoffman as a manly man and to transform into this squeaky voiced, society-obsessed intellectual, well, he just did it…..brilliantly. We’ll miss you Philip Seymour Hoffman.


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Capote (2005)

  1. table9mutant says:

    Great review, Emma! 🙂 This is an excellent film. And Hoffman was great! I read In Cold Blood immediately after seeing this….

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Miss Mutant!!! I love this film and I love In Cold Blood!!!! 🙂 🙂

      Infamous is just as good and worth a watch too if you haven’t already.

      • table9mutant says:

        Is it?? I thought it was weird they made a similar film. Maybe I’ll check it out. 🙂

        • emmakwall says:

          It’s really good, on a par with Capote. It’s different, it’s not as serious, it shows Truman socialising more and has less emphasis on writing In Cold Blood and more emphasis on him as a person. Toby Jones is just as good as Hoffman I believe 🙂 and Daniel Craig was amazing as Perry! Watch it!!!

  2. beetleypete says:

    We have had a ‘chat’ about this before Em.Good review of Capote, but I am still giving it to Toby Jones for Infamous, nonetheless. Nice one though.
    Best wishes as always, Pete. x

  3. movierob says:

    nice work ems! I liked this movie, but it was Hoffman’s work that really clinched it

  4. Lukas says:

    Great review, been meaning to see this. Have put it off for literally years.

    • emmakwall says:

      I know what you mean, I put movies off for ages sometimes and then I watch them and think why did I put it off for so long! I often put off movies that are more ‘serious’ preferring to watch low rent horrors on Netflix ha ha.

      Thanks Lukas!

  5. BunKaryudo says:

    Interesting review. It sounds like a film I should get round to watching. Funnily enough, a hardback copy of “In Cold Blood” sat on my parents’ bookshelf all through my childhood. I can still see the cover. It had a white an green cover with a picture of a shovel on the front. I expressed an interest in reading the book once when I was about eight even though I had no idea what it was about. My mother shook her head and then quickly changed the subject.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thank you very much. And I don’t blame your mother! At eight years old it would have been rather too much 🙂

      It’s great when you have a memory like that, so clear! Do your parents still have the book do you know?

      Definitely watch Capote, it’s really really good!! 🙂

      • BunKaryudo says:

        I’m not sure about the book. I haven’t seen it for years. I should ask. Then I won’t have to buy another copy. Hee hee hee. (Rubs hands together.)

        Thanks for the tip about the film. Sounds like one to look out for next time I’m in the video store.

        • emmakwall says:

          Thrifty! I like it 🙂 hopefully they’ll still have a copy. Definitely watch the film, let me know what you think! 🙂

            • emmakwall says:

              And the book!! 🙂

            • emmakwall says:

              I can’t seem to comment your blog (very wise!) but your About Me section really made me laugh 🙂 and thanks for the phonetic spelling for philistines like me! I’m going to read some more!

            • BunKaryudo says:

              Sorry about that! It misbehaves a bit at times, my blog. It’s like the pet cat I used to have. It’ll cooperate if and when it feels good and ready, but not before.

            • emmakwall says:

              I was just reading your earplug post – you’re really funny and I say that with complete sincerity, ever thought about writing full time?

            • BunKaryudo says:

              Hey, that’s very nice of you to say! Thank you very much! I’m not sure I have the talent to do it for a living, sadly. Having said that, the way things are going at work these days…

            • emmakwall says:

              I just really like your self-deprecating humour! I could imagine a really funny protagonist at the helm of your book 🙂

              I’d love to write a book but it is rather disheartening when you learn Harry Potter (bloody Harry Potter!!!) was rejected loads before it got published….

              On that cheery note!

              But seriously, you write really well (not that you need me telling you that)

            • BunKaryudo says:

              No, no, no — you can tell me as many times as you like! I’m like a big praise sponge!

              I’ve never been able to write fiction, unfortunately (although the diary I had to keep during my summer vacation from elementary school came pretty close).

              If you’re able to do it, though, you should definitely go for it. I suppose it is a bit disheartening to read that poor old G.K. Rowling has a drawerful of rejection letters at home somewhere, but on the other hand, she stuck at it and she succeeded!

            • emmakwall says:

              Very good point my friend! (sorry for late reply by the way)

              It’s funny I find it hard writing fiction. I can think of scenarios and characters but I can’t “put it all together”. I prefer writing in a blogging / article fashion.

              I’m going to call you Sponge Praise Spare Pants from now on! (what?!!!)

            • BunKaryudo says:

              It looks like we’re in the same boat! I wish I could give your comment a double like – once for having the same kind of writing ability and once for giving me a cool (?) nickname! I’d better go now, though. I’m off to try and make friends with a starfish.

  6. theipc says:


    I don’t really know if this is for me…. I’m more of a Return of the Living Dead guy….. nice work!!


    Love Pen!!

    < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3 < 3

    • emmakwall says:

      I think this film COULD be for anyone! But I know what you mean. Looks can be deceiving though, maybe if it’s on TV one day? 🙂

      Hmmmmm, what’s that hint I wonder?!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 FILMS WITH FRIENDS!!!!!!! Not yet but it should already be here! HMMMPH!

      I’ll tweet you and Laura get a date in mind???? xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ❤

  7. Khalid Rafi says:

    Didn’t love the movie but loved PSH’s performance. Nice review!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks so much Khalid!!! 🙂 I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it much. Have you seen Infamous? Toby Jones is just as great as Hoffman at playing Truman Capote and it’s more light hearted I suppose, a bit more ‘fun’?

  8. This movie never appealed to me when it was released in the slightest, but if you like it I suppose I should give it a shot.

  9. This is awesome Emma! While he played so many phenomenal roles, I agree with you. This was his best!

  10. vinnieh says:

    Stellar review Emma, and for the record you are definitely not a twat. You’re a peachy bum loving bundle of fun.

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s