Capote is a 2005 biographical film about Truman Capote on a writing assignment for The New Yorker. Philip Seymour Hoffman won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the title role. The film follows the events during the writing of Capote's non-fiction book In Cold Blood. The movie itself was based on the biography called Capote by Gerald Clarke. The movie was filmed mostly in Manitoba, in the autumn of 2004, and was released on 30 September2005, to coincide with what would have been Truman Capote's 81st birthday.
The movie opens in Kansas with the discovery of the dead bodies of four of the members of the Clutter family by a family friend. While reading the Times, Truman Capote is riveted by the story of the Clutters and calls William Shawn, then the editor of The New Yorker, to announce that he will personally document the tragedy.
He travels to Kansas with his childhood friend Harper Lee. Lee was then in the process of getting To Kill a Mockingbird written and published, which the film references several times. Capote sets about interviewing those involved with the victims, the Clutter family, with Lee as his go-between and interpreter of rural life. When the murderers are apprehended, Capote is initially brushed off by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's lead detective on the case, Alvin Dewey. Dewey's wife, however, is a fan of Capote's writing and persuades him to invite Capote and Lee to their house for dinner. Mrs. Dewey is starstruck by Capote's stories of being on movie sets with film stars. Dewey warms up to Capote, which facilitates Capote's visits to the prison where the suspects (Perry Smith and Dick Hickock) are being held. Capote begins to form an attachment to Perry. Following their trial and conviction, Capote is able to gain access to the murderers by bribing the warden. Capote spends the following years regularly visiting Perry and learning about his life, excepting a year long stint where Capote abandons Perry and writes the "first three parts" of the book with Jack Dunphy in Morocco and Spain. The story of Perry's life, his upset and remorseful manner, and his emotional sincerity impress Capote. The writer becomes emotionally attached to Perry and feels sympathy for him, not withstanding his involvement in the murders. Perry refuses to tell Capote what happened on the night of the murders, which greatly angers the writer. Eventually, Perry tells him in great detail. The story becomes a meditation upon the need for redemption even in very grave circumstances.
The last appeal is rejected and Perry and Dick are hanged. Perry's hanging is explicitly shown. In the next scene Truman is talking to Harper Lee. He tells her of the horrifying experience and laments that he couldn't have done anything to stop it. She replies "Maybe not; the fact is you didn't want to." This is the last line of the film. The next and last scene shows Truman looking at photos and some of the writings and drawings that Perry gave him.
The movie showcases Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of the openly gay Southern author with his weaknesses for fame, alcohol, and attention. Capote became an international figure upon the release of the book In Cold Blood, which he would publish after Smith and Hickock were executed. Hoffman portrays Capote's conflict between personal literary ambitions and trying to maintain his role as a confidant to Perry, one of the two condemned killers.
The film ends with the logic that Capote never wrote anything of value again, which is misleading to a certain extent. In reality, Capote wrote quite a bit in his last years. It is true, though, that this material did not achieve the same level of commercial success or critical acclaim as his early works, and that he never published another book.
Worldwide Total: $49,233,161