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Cinemaniac: "Capote" explores the similarities between a famed writer and a murderer on death row

Cinemaniac is a blog updated every week that reviews Netflix movies and movies in the theatre.

by Jessica Tharaud
4.5 out of 5 stars
After the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman two months ago, we should take a few hours to remember his movies. “Capote,” the movie for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor was riveting. The movie follows author Truman Capote, played by Hoffman, as he researches and writes his most famous work, the nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.
In Cold Blood, a text read by this school’s AP Language and Composition class, which also watched “Capote,” details the true story of the Clutter family murders in Kansas and their killers. Four members of the family were brutally murdered in a robbery gone wrong. Murderers Perry Smith and Richard “Dick” Hickock, were convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death.
For me, Capote’s conflicting attitudes towards Smith were fascinating. The two were clearly drawn to each other despite the unlikely friendship: Capote was famous for his novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s while Smith waited on death row. But Capote maintained that he wanted Smith to die so that he could finish his book.
Hoffman’s acting was simply amazing. Capote’s mannerisms were so specific and well done that I had to repeatedly remind myself that he was an actor.
As Capote conducts interviews for his book, he and Smith bond over their difficult childhoods and become friends. In one memorable scene, Smith is emaciated after starving himself in an effort to commit suicide when Capote tenderly feeds him and helps him regain his strength. This scene shows the deep connection between the two and emphasizes that despite their similar childhoods, how differently their lives ended up.

Cinemaniac is a blog updated every week that reviews Netflix movies and movies in the theatre.
Cinemaniac is a blog updated every week that reviews Netflix movies and movies in the theatre.

But as the appeals drag on, Capote increasingly manipulates Smith, acting as his close confidante but prodding him for his account of the night of the murders and lying to keep him happy.
I think that the movie allows viewers to perceive Capote’s own confusion and to realize the blurred lines that exist between humanity.
Overall, “Capote” was a great movie that did the writer and his revolutionary novel justice with a star performance by Hoffman.

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