I was kind of shocked to find out this afternoon that Harper Lee had passed away today, especially since last night I watched Capote, a film based on the life of Truman Capote which Harper played a big role in, Lee and Capote were childhood friends and became two of the great american writers despite Lee only publishing 2 books and Capote never writing another book after he finished In Cold Blood.
Capote tells the story of how Truman Capote wrote his final novel In Cold Blood, from the start to its fittingly dark end. What’s nice about Capote is its honesty, with a lot of biographical films it’s easy to sugar coat a lot of things and skip over a lot of negatives (looking at you Jobs, 2013) but Bennett Miller and Philip Seymour Hoffman really studied Capote as a person for this film, Capote loved to socialise and drink and shock people, he would stab people in the back and do things in order to get what he wanted and that comes through very heavily in this film, Philip Seymour Hoffman absolutely nails his performance here, right down to the way he delivers sentences and his mannerisms, watching him feels like you’re watching the real Truman Capote.
Capote should be the template for biographical films, Miller crafts an interesting story without needing to delve into a long list of tropes that would destroy the purpose of the film. Capote does make you ask yourself a few questions too that Capote probably asked himself at the time; why do we feel bad for this criminal that has committed an unspeakable crime? Should he be forgiven? Should he be killed? If Capote himself didn’t know how he should feel how should we as an audience interpret these questions? All these things were contributing factors to why Truman Capote never wrote another book again. Capote is an example of a biographical film done right, it’s really hard to not enjoy this film, and coincidentally does a good job at portraying some of the themes from In Cold Blood, Capote is a 8/10.
In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.