The Literary and Arts Magazine of Lehman College

Did You See Capote?




Dir. Bennett Miller

Screenplay: Dan Futterman, from the book by Gerald Clarke

Bennett Miller’s Capote uncovers how the titular author Truman Capote came about writing his masterpiece In Cold Blood and how his moral collapses in the process.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the titular bold and flamboyant media darling, Truman Capote. His remarkable ability to lose himself in the skin and manners of Capote creates for a celebrity-portrait that’s at once arresting and at another charmingly humane. Hoffman becomes Capote. (He even took home the Oscar for it!)

Dan’s powerful screenplay presents Capote and his disposition as it unfolds; it wins for it chooses not to take a side, keeping the stand eerily ambiguous.

In the movie, as in real life, Capote forms a strong relationship with one of the two killers (Perry Smith, played by Clifton Collins Jr.) whom he researches on for his novel In Cold Blood. Capote finds it affecting that Smith, too, had experienced a bad childhood and that he could have been saved like Capote, had he “went out the front door.” The moral aspect in Capote’s undoing comes in where Capote’s sympathies shift to the killer of four, Perry Smith, and where he knows that he’ll have to betray their established trust in order to come to an ending for the creative nonfictional novel––Smith and his killer friend’s execution.

He wants for Perry what the movie wants for Capote: “If I leave here without understanding you, the world will see you as a monster. I don’t want that.”

The film, of course, chooses to let the viewers understand Capote for themselves. Did you see Capote?

~ Hardik Yadav

Additional Reads: ‘In Cold Blood,’ Truman Capote’s Achievement and UndoingThe Story Behind a Nonfiction Novel.