Saturday, 19 September 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 05 February 2006 20:01

I really love Oscar season, but not because of the fancy dresses and boring award speeches. No, there is another reason for a movie loving Maritimer like myself to get worked up about it. When the nominated movies are announced, we finally get to see what we’ve been missing! Quality films such as - dare I say it - Brokeback Mountain, and now Capote are finally getting the screen time they deserve in New Brunswick theatres. That’s right folks! No longer do you have to struggle through Hostel or Big Momma’s House 2. There is an option.

I’ll confess that I was one of the lucky ones who went to see Capote a few weeks ago at UdeM’s Far Out East screening. I walked into the theatre not knowing anything about the movie, except that Philip Seymour Hoffman was getting rave reviews for his performance. What I came away with was a feeling that I wanted to know more about this compelling character.

In the late 50’s eccentric author Truman Capote was best known for writing Breakfast at Tiffany’s and for being a quick-witted curiosity at parties. Under the gun from his publisher’s, he is intrigued when he notices a news article about an entire family being gunned down in their beds on a farm in Kansas. He immediately decides that this is what he wants to write about. His next novel would be titled In Cold Blood and would be about the murders.

Taking his long time friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) with him on the journey, they travel to Kansas. Capote intends to write about how a small town deals with tragedy. He doesn’t care one way or another if the killers are caught, as long as he has good material for his book. Little does he realize that this story will consume the next six years of his life, and change him forever.

Two drifters, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock are arrested for the murders. Oddly enough Capote develops an empathetic relationship with them. He finds similarities between himself and Smith who suffered similar childhoods as outsiders shipped from home to home. Over the course of several years on trial and on death row, Capote develops an intimate friendship with Smith who trusts him implicitly. Smith doesn’t seem to care that fame will come only after his death, as long as his story is told. Capote has invested far more emotionally than planned. He is torn between caring for Smith and wishing for his execution so he can finally end the book.

This movie isn’t so much about the murders as it is about the emotions of the people involved and it affects their lives. The actors are all perfectly cast. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is completely deserving of the hype. Capote’s high, girlish voice and flamboyant nature could have been cartoonish, but Hoffman doesn’t allow that. He plays the role with humanity and honesty.

This is an intriguing movie that left me with an interest in finding out more. The names Truman Capote and In Cold Blood were buried in my brain as recognizable but unknown in origin. I must have acquired them in the same way I seem to know things about comic books when I never read them. In any case, I definitely plan to read In Cold Blood to learn more about the case and hopefully more about the enigmatic Truman Capote.

I give Capote 7 out of 10. Get out and see it now that you can!