Customer Reviews


671 Reviews
5 star:
 (390)
4 star:
 (164)
3 star:
 (64)
2 star:
 (27)
1 star:
 (26)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


288 of 312 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of a great talent
Believe me when I tell you that this is one of the best films of the year. It is a complex and multi-layered work of art. Truman Capote, under assignment from the New Yorker magazine, explores a terrible murder of a family of four in the American heartland. He asks his childhood friend from Monroeville Alabama, Nelle Harper Lee, to act as his assistant and together they...
Published on January 13, 2006 by C. B Collins Jr.

versus
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On Thin Ice
Given that "Capote" sets out to attack its subject for an act of creative betrayal, it's something of a problem that the film itself so blatantly plays with the truth. As William Shawn's sons have protested, the film's depiction of their father is completely imaginary (he didn't provide photographers, didn't arrange the reading, felt squeamish about the book); more...
Published on April 10, 2006 by Selene


‹ Previous | 1 268 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

288 of 312 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of a great talent, January 13, 2006
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
Believe me when I tell you that this is one of the best films of the year. It is a complex and multi-layered work of art. Truman Capote, under assignment from the New Yorker magazine, explores a terrible murder of a family of four in the American heartland. He asks his childhood friend from Monroeville Alabama, Nelle Harper Lee, to act as his assistant and together they will explore the murder and its impact on the community for a magazine article. Phillip Seymour Hoffman delivers the acting performance of the year playing the role of the cognitively unique Capote. Catherine Keener was superb playing the solid strength of Harper Lee.

When the killers are soon caught and Capote sees the half-Native American Perry Smith, an odd chemistry develops and Capote becomes obsessed with Smith. Yet Capote manipulates the two murderers and even pays for their first court appeal in order to obtain more information for the article that has now developed into a book. Clifton Collins is excellent in the role of Perry Smith and Chris Cooper is excellent as the head of the Kansas division of the FBI.

Capote had a rare gift, the ability to make himself totally vulnerable through painful self revelation, so as to obtain entry into soul of his target. He does this with Smith and they begin a careful relationship whereby they reveal themselves to each other like chess players, each making careful calculated moves so as to obtain the maximum amount of information and manipulation of the other party.

Harper Lee confronts Capote asking whether he has fallen in love with Perry Smith, but Capote says that he and Smith are the same person, only Capote ran out the 'front door' and Smith ran out the 'back door".

Capote names his book "In Cold Blood" but keeps this information from Perry Smith. Eventually you begin to realize that cold blood is the mental state that Capote had to assume to manipulate the killers long enough to extract the full story of the murders from them.

As the book nears completion, Capote begins a mental breakdown. He may actually love Perry Smith and thus regrets his death but also he knows the execution must occur to bring closure to the book so it can be published. Thus when Capote wishes Smith to die he is cast into guilt and grief; but when he wishes Smith to live, he is cast into depression over the lack of closure of his masterpiece.

One of the most wise plot devices in this film was to contrast the fall of Capote with the rise of Harper Lee and her wonderful novel "To Kill A Mockingbird". Capote sinks into depression and alcoholism laced with mounting self pity while Harper Lee gains acclaim first for her novel and then for the film starring Gregory Peck. On the night of the gala opening of "To Kill A Mockingbird" Capote attends the festivities in a drunken depressed stupor and is so self absorbed that he can't even offer his supportive best friend, Lee, congratulations on her novel and film.

What do we make of this film? It is incredibly well done and demonstrates that no act of mercy is totally pure, no act of cruelty is totally evil. It was Capote's incredible skills that allowed him to manipulate the killers to gain the story that made him the most famous American living writer; but he sold his soul to buy the story and he never recovered from the wound.

This is mature film-making at its best!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Year's Best..., October 17, 2005
By 
thornhillatthemovies.com (Venice, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It is much more difficult to write a review of a great movie. You worry about doing the film justice, giving the film its due, convincing other that this film is worthy.

"Capote" is a great film. I can't think of enough superlatives to do the film justice.

November, 1959. Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sits in his apartment reading through the New York Times and spots a short item about the murder of a family on a farm in Kansas. Something about the article speaks to Capote, he can write about this and turn it into a great article for the New Yorker. He enlists the aid of his friend, and fellow writer, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), as his research assistant for the trip. Upon their arrival in Kansas, they meet with Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), the lead investigator in the case, haunted by images of the crime scene and determined to find the killers. Dewey's wife invites Capote and Lee to dinner, thrilled to have a celebrity in the house, beginning a friendship with the Dewey's which leads to them sharing Christmas dinner. The meal is interrupted by a call from Las Vegas. The suspects have been captured. Capote remains in the small town, hoping for the opportunity to interview Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino). When Capote meets Smith, he realizes that he has enough for a book. But he needs an ending. How and when will the book end?

"Capote", directed by Bennett Miller, written by Dan Futterman and produced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, among others, is a great film. But I already said that, didn't I? See what I mean? It's difficult to do justice to a film like this.

The most amazing thing about the film is Hoffman's portrayal of Capote. Before this film, my limited exposure to Capote has been his cameo in "Murder by Death" or various magazine pictures of him at parties throughout the Eighties. None of this gives you an idea of his life or his ability. The film, and Hoffman, quickly establish Capote's character. Enjoying success as a writer, and celebrity, he holds court during a party, recounting the story of another author telling him about his new book. This scene quickly establishes Capote's ego and his love of attention. After he finds the short newspaper article, we begin to see and sense many other layers to his character. He wants to be a great writer; as portrayed by Hoffman, we see that he valued celebrity as much as his skill. He wants to be in a loving relationship; his partner, author Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood) is working on a new novel and wants Capote to spend the holidays at home. Capote realizes that the research will take much longer and tries to assuage his lover about his absence. But the truly great thing about this performance is the relationship between Capote and Smith. Hoffman skillfully leads us to believe that Capote was attracted to Smith, helping him find lawyers, meeting with him for long periods of time. Was it all for the sake of a book, which Capote believed would be great? Or did he actually care about Smith? Or the Clutter family?

As you watch Hoffman's performance you realize that there are many subtle contradictions in Capote's character. Hoffman brings these to life, in a completely disarming way. We feel like we are watching Capote in a documentary.

Capote had a very stylized speech pattern and Hoffman captures it without stereotyping it or making light of it. It was simply how this man, who lived in many Southern communities growing up spoke.

As far as I am concerned, the Oscar race for Best Actor is over. Hoffman should get the statue now. Forget about all of the campaigning. There may be other very good performances to come, but I doubt there will be another performance as good as Hoffman's portrayal of Truman Capote.

All of the supporting performances are pitch perfect. Catherine Keener, once again, does a great job as she brings author Nelle Harper Lee to life. She and Capote had Southern roots and the desire to be great writers in common. Capote clearly liked to surround himself with talent, as friends and associates, and he recognized that Lee would be a great writer as well. During their research in Kansas, Lee learns that her book "To Kill a Mockingbird" will be published. Over the course of writing "In Cold Blood", Lee's novel is published to great acclaim and made into a film starring Gregory Peck. Capote attends the New York premiere, but he is still so wrapped up in his own book that he can't come to terms with Lee's success, putting a strain on their relationship.

Chris Cooper is outstanding as the tortured lawman. At one point, Capote helps Smith and Hickock find new lawyers. Dewey (Cooper) tells him that if he helps these two men get out of jail, he will personally come to Brooklyn and hunt Capote down.

Clifton Collins, Jr. is also mesmerizing as Perry Smith. Collins has, frankly, never done anything this good. His last film of any note was "Mindhunters", the oft-delayed Renny Harlin mess released this summer. Collins manages to subtly convey that Smith may be just as manipulative as his new friend, Capote. He realizes early on that Capote needs him and once he gives Capote what he wants his new `friend' is gone. Throughout their relationship, they play a subtle game of cat and mouse.

The beauty of the film is that it puts us in Capote's shoes. We experience all of the emotions that he experiences, see everything that he sees, and witness the events that he is present for. When he hears Smith's recount of the murders, he is visibly shaken, as are we, by the power of the words and images used.

Rightfully, the film concentrates on Capote's life during the research and writing of "In Cold Blood". After the book was released, and acknowledged as a classic, Capote never really wrote anything that would earn him the attention or acclaim that he needed. It was essentially, the book he was meant to write and it would end his creative career. The rest of his life would be a shadow.

"Capote" does that rare thing. You learn about the man, his talent, and his life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


56 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truman Show, February 23, 2006
By 
MICHAEL ACUNA (Southern California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
Director Bennett Miller has done a terrific job of creating a deep sense of foreboding and impending doom in his re-telling of the story of Truman Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a tour-de-force performance) and his relationship with the convicted Clutter family murderers, Perry Smith (an intense Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino).

Be forewarned though, "Capote" is not a filmic love letter to Truman Capote and his Jet Set cronies. This is a blunt, peeling away of the glamour that was the Capote persona and what Bennett comes up with is not pleasant...but it is honest and straightforward and for this Bennett is to be congratulated.

Hoffman, as opposed to say Charlize Theron's quasi-performance in "Monster," not only takes on the manner and physical attributes of Capote but he also inhabits and reveals the heart (hard) and soul (decayed) of the man responsible for the breath-taking, "In Cold Blood." But at what price to all involved: Smith, Hickock, FBI agent Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), close friend Harper Lee (a very subdued, Catherine Keener)?

"Capote" is a brilliant, shining example of deadly honest film making done at the very highest level. It is physically, psychically and mentally beautiful and like a fine old Burgundy it is meant to be consumed with as much commitment as it took to create it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, Hoffman is Rewarded, March 7, 2006
By 
colinwoodward (Little Rock, AR) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
P. S. Hoffman won a well-deserved Best Actor award for his turn as Truman Capote. After years of stealing the show from other actors, in work as diverse and good as his roles in Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love, and Owning Mahowny (and he was the only reason to see dreck like Along Came Polly), he now has his statue. He is excellent as Capote, who comes across as brilliant and charming, but also self-centered and very manipulative. At Harper Lee's party for her "To Kill a Mocking Bird," Capote sulks, drinks, and hisses, "I don't see what all the fuss is about." He can't share in the joy of his lifelong friend. It's all about him. He paid a high price for getting his story, however. What made Capote a superstar, the "non-fiction novel" "In Cold Blood," also sucked the life out him: he never wrote another book. In the film, we see a writer obsessed. Truman is in love with the doomed Perry Smith, but he wants even more to get, and tell, a great story. When he hears that Smith might have his execution delayed, Truman fears he'll have a "nervous breakdown." You might not like Truman Capote after seeing this movie, but you'll want to read him--if you haven't already--or read more of his books. Hoffman completely embodies his character. Without his great performance, the movie wouldn't have worked. But the supporting roles are well played, too. One of last year's best movies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On Thin Ice, April 10, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
Given that "Capote" sets out to attack its subject for an act of creative betrayal, it's something of a problem that the film itself so blatantly plays with the truth. As William Shawn's sons have protested, the film's depiction of their father is completely imaginary (he didn't provide photographers, didn't arrange the reading, felt squeamish about the book); more important than that, Capote did not hire lawyers for Perry and Smith. I don't know much about Harper Lee, but I find it hard to believe that she was as entirely angelic as this film requires her to be - requires, in order to recast a passage of history into a morality tale. It's fair enough to do this, in general: any creation imposes a frame on its subject, and framing history will direct the way it is viewed; but I was uncomfortable with the mixture here of distortion and moralization. The film-makers choose to show us nothing of the slaughtered family: that's a big point for Perry, who is left as the story's chief victim, and thus a point against Capote. But the killers performed a truly disgusting, diabolical act (I think it is necessary to make this obvious point), and the idea that Capote should somehow have tried to save them is one that the film needs quite a lot of creative betrayal to push through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Great actor but bad movie, May 5, 2007
By 
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
The only redeeming quality of this film is Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his portrayal of Truman Capote. Everything else is lacking- especially a good cast and storyline. It barely scratches the surface of events surrounding the killings and its aftermath. It can't hold a candle to the orginal "In Cold Blood" starring Robert Blake. Those who read the book will notice all the flaws of the film "Capote." one of the worst films of 2006.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Performance, March 6, 2006
By 
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
"Capote" is a movie that sticks with you days after watching it. The screenplay is as gripping and exciting as a fictional mystery, yet it builds on the true account of how Truman Capote came to write In Cold Blood -- a new genre he dubbed the "non-fiction novel".

After reading the New York Times article on the murder of a farming family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959, Capote travels there with childhood friend Harper Lee, author of To kill a Mocking bird, on the premise of writing an article for the magazine "The New Yorker". In the process he befriends Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) who heads the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and a number of townspeople. The killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins) and Richard Hickock, are caught and convicted.

Capote visits them in prison and helps obtain a lawyer for their appeal, but eventually becomes obsessed with Smith. He sees him as a vulnerable, sensitive and misunderstood man; someone who he can relate to -- alone, troubled and sad. By the time their appeals are rejected and they are headed for the gallows, Capote is overwhelmed with grief, perhaps personal guilt for using them to write his "non-fiction novel". It is a tragedy one supposes Capote never overcame, considering no major work from him appeared after "In Cold Blood". Ironically, he, too, in a way became a victim.

To visually convey the brutality of the subject matter, a number of images are startlingly realistic, and stay with you long after the movie ends. Among these is Truman Capote opening the wooden casket of the murdered Mrs. Clutter, dressed in blue, her faced wrapped entirely in cotton. So too is the bloody and violent slashing of Mr. Clutter's throat and the shotgun blasts to the heads of the Clutter family. The hanging of Perry Smith, which begins with heavy breathing quickens as he is about to be executed, is an experience the viewer practically lives. And finally, after he is dropped from the trap door, his body jerks momentarily, then it is still forever -- a scene chillingly reminiscent of the movie In Cold Blood.

Moreover, it is Philip Seymour Hoffman who immerses himself in the persona of Truman Capote. He assumes Capote's appearance and quirky demeanour, complete with raspy voice and mannerisms, with such convincing perfection. It is little wonder he has garnered a host of accolades, including a Golden Globe and Oscar. He is simply brilliant!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truman Show, October 3, 2005
By 
MICHAEL ACUNA (Southern California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Director Bennett Miller has done a terrific job of creating a deep sense of foreboding and impending doom in his re-telling of the story of Truman Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a tour-de-force performance) and his relationship with the convicted Clutter family murderers, Perry Smith (an intense Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino).

Be forewarned though, "Capote" is not a filmic love letter to Truman Capote and his Jet Set cronies. This is a blunt, peeling away of the glamour that was the Capote persona and what Bennett comes up with is not pleasant...but it is honest and straightforward and for this Bennett is to be congratulated.

Hoffman, as opposed to say Charlize Theron's quasi-performance in "Monster," not only takes on the manner and physical attributes of Capote but he also inhabits and reveals the heart (hard) and soul (decayed) of the man responsible for the breath-taking, "In Cold Blood." But at what price to all involved: Smith, Hickock, FBI agent Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), close friend Harper Lee (a very subdued, Catherine Keener)?

"Capote" is a brilliant, shining example of deadly honest film making done at the very highest level. It is physically, psychically and mentally beautiful and like a fine old Burgundy it is meant to be consumed with as much commitment as it took to create it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film As Art, April 18, 2006
By 
Caesar M. Warrington (Aldan, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
Simply said, this movie stands as an example of quality film making.

Based on Gerald Clarke's biography of the famous writer, Dan Futterman's screenplay focuses in on Capote's late 50's-early 60's period and the conflicted relationship he developed with killer Perry Edward Smith during his research for what would become his best-known work, IN COLD BLOOD.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is phenomenal. He's transformed into Capote, showing a coldly manipulating underside to the colorful writer who was world famous for his humorous socializing antics and talk show schmoozefests.

Great performances also from Catherine Keener as Nell Harper Lee (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD), Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Edward Smith, and Chris Cooper as Kansas detective Alvin Dewey.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Pays To Lie, March 19, 2006
By 
Eugenia Renskoff (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Capote (DVD)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman won a well deserved Oscar for this movie. He truly is Truman Capote, the legendary writer. We see Capote as a human being, a flawed human being and yet we understand him. I don't know if we can like him, but we do see why he does what he does. To be able to write In Cold Blood he has to lie to the man he's befriended, one of the two persons responsible for the horrible murders in the late 50s.

Ms. Keener as Harper Lee is excellent and the script couldn't have been better. Sometimes grim, but an excellent movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 268 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Capote
Capote by Bennett Miller (DVD - 2006)
$9.95 $6.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.