Capote is a 2005 biographical film about Truman Capote directed by Bennett Miller. It follows the events during the writing of Capote's 1966 non-fiction book In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the title character. The film was based on Gerald Clarke's 1988 biography Capote. It was filmed mostly in Manitoba in the autumn of 2004 and released September 30, 2005, coinciding with Capote's birthday.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bennett Miller|
|Screenplay by||Dan Futterman|
by Gerald Clarke
|Music by||Mychael Danna|
|Edited by||Christopher Tellefsen|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics|
|Box office||$50 million|
In 1959 the bodies of the Clutter family are discovered on their Kansas farm. While reading The New York Times, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is riveted by the story and calls The New Yorker magazine editor William Shawn (Bob Balaban) to tell him that he plans to document the tragedy.
Capote travels to Kansas, inviting childhood friend Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) to come along. He intends to interview those involved with the Clutter family, with Lee as his go-between and facilitator. Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's lead detective on the case, brushes him off. Still, Dewey's wife Marie (Amy Ryan) is a fan of Capote's writing and persuades her husband to invite Capote and Lee to their house for dinner.
Capote's stories of movie sets and film stars captivate Marie. Over time, her husband warms to Capote and allows him to view the photographs of the victims. The Deweys, Lee, and Capote are having dinner when the murder suspects, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Richard "Dick" Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), are caught. Flattery, bribery, and a keen insight into the human condition facilitate Capote's visits to the prison where the accused are held.
Capote begins to form an attachment to Smith. He informs Shawn of his intent to expand the story into a full-length book. Following the trial and conviction, Capote gains continued access to the murderers by bribing Warden Marshall Krutch (Marshall Bell).
Capote spends the following years regularly visiting Smith and learning about his life, excepting a year-long stint when he goes to Morocco and Spain to write the "first three parts" of the book, accompanied by his romantic partner Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood).
The story of Smith's life, his remorseful manner, and his emotional sincerity impress Capote, who becomes emotionally attached to him despite the gruesome murders. Capote aids Smith and Hickock by obtaining expert legal counsel for them and initiating an appeal. Still, he is frustrated, as Smith declines to relate exactly what happened the night of the murders.
Though initially an effort to provide proper representation and extend Capote's opportunity to speak with the killers, the appeals process drags on for several years. Without the court case being resolved, Capote feels he is stuck with a story without an ending, and he is unable to complete his book. Eventually, he gets Smith to describe the killings and his thoughts at the time in great detail. He has what he wants from Smith, but he sees a callousness and selfishness in his own actions in the process.
Now with everything in hand, Capote still must wait for the appeals process to conclude before he feels he can publish his work. Over time, Lee's best-selling novel To Kill a Mockingbird is turned into a movie, but Capote is unable to share in the joy of his friend's success, too caught up in drinking through his own misery.
With the last appeal rejected, Smith pleads for Capote to return before he is executed, but Capote cannot bring himself to do so. A telegram from Smith to Harper Lee ultimately compels Capote to return to Kansas. There he is an eyewitness as Smith and Hickock are executed.
Capote talks to Lee about the horrifying experience and laments that he could not do anything to stop it. She replies, "Maybe not. The fact is you didn't want to." While returning home, Capote looks through photos from the case and at the writings and drawings given to him by Smith.
An epilogue points out that In Cold Blood turned Capote into the most famous writer in America, also noting that he never finished another book. A postscript gives the epigraph he would have chosen for the title of Answered Prayers: "More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones", a quote from Saint Teresa of Ávila.
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote
- Catherine Keener as Nelle Harper Lee
- Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith
- Chris Cooper as Alvin Dewey
- Bob Balaban as William Shawn
- Bruce Greenwood as Jack Dunphy
- Amy Ryan as Marie Dewey
- Mark Pellegrino as Richard "Dick" Hickock
- Allie Mickelson as Laura Kinney
- Marshall Bell as Warden Marshall Krutch
- Katherine Shindle as Rose
- Araby Lockhart as Dorothy Sanderson
- Robert Huculak as New York Reporter
- R. D. Reid as Roy Church
- Rob McLaughlin as Harold Nye
- Harry Nelken as Sheriff Walter Sanderson
- C. Ernst Harth as Lowell Lee Andrews
- Jeremy Dangerfield as Jury Foreman
Capote grossed $28.8 million in the United States and Canada and $21.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $50 million, sales of its DVD/Blu-ray releases have cashed $17 million, against a production budget of $7 million.
Capote received wide acclaim from critics, with Hoffman's performance the subject of particular praise. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 8.18/10 based on 196 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Philip Seymour Hoffman's riveting central performance guides a well-constructed retelling of the most sensational and significant period in author Truman Capote's life." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 88 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Roger Ebert gave the film a full four-star rating, stating: "Capote is a film of uncommon strength and insight, about a man whose great achievement requires the surrender of his self-respect."
Wins for Philip Seymour Hoffman
- Academy Award for Best Actor
- BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
- Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
- Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
- Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
- Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
- Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay – Dan Futterman, Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Filmmaker – Bennett Miller
- Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay – Dan Futterman, Producers Award – Caroline Baron
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay – Dan Futterman, Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film
- New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film
- Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best First Feature, Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
- 78th Academy Awards:
- 59th British Academy Film Awards:
- Berlin International Film Festival Award for Golden Bear
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener, Best Writer – Dan Futterman
- Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – Bennett Miller
- GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature, Best Cinematography – Adam Kimmel
- New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film
- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Adapted Screenplay – Dan Futterman, Best Breakthrough Filmmaker – Bennett Miller, Best Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
- Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role – Catherine Keener
- Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay – Dan Futterman
- "Capote". London, England: British Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
- "Capote (2005)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Capote (2005) – Filming locations
- Shelley, Peter (2017). Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Life and Work. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-476-66243-5.
- Ahern, Rosemary, ed. (2012). The Art of the Epigraph. How Great Books Begin. New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-451-69327-0.
- "Capote (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
- "Capote Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Ebert, Roger. "Capote". RogertEbert.com. Retrieved August 20, 2015.