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"CAPOTE"
(2005) (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Extreme Mild Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A famous writer becomes fixated on a mass murder that he's using as the basis for his pending non-fiction novel.
PLOT:
It's 1959 and Truman Capote (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN) is a famous author and socialite who's at the top of his game. Having seen a brief story in the New York Times about a murder in America's heartland, Truman thinks it might make for an interesting article for his work in the New Yorker. Traveling to Kansas with his tenacious assistant and fellow writer Nelle Harper Lee (CATHERINE KEENER), Truman meets local sheriff Alvin Dewey (CHRIS COOPER) whose friend and family were murdered by two drifters.

As Truman and Nelle poke around for information, Dewey and his men eventually capture the two suspects, Perry Smith (CLIFTON COLLINS JR.) and Richard Hickock (MARK PELLEGRINO) who were mistakenly informed that a great deal of money was hidden in the house. Unable to find that, they murdered the family and then took off.

With the men now in custody and having bribed the local warden for access to them, Truman begins interviewing Perry, the more amiable of the two. Getting more information on the suspects and what occurred, Truman finds himself drawn to Perry, sensing something of a kindred spirit in him, albeit one whose life circumstances put him on a decidedly different course.

Accordingly, and after telling his editor that the story is too big for just a magazine article, Truman then sets out to write the world's first non-fiction novel about the murders and suspects. His time spent on the story and getting assistance for the suspects' defense, however, begins to put a bit of a strain on Truman's relationship with his gay lover/companion Jack Dunphy (BRUCE GREENWOOD).

With the years passing and the case drawing out even longer, Truman becomes obsessed with his work. Yet, he finds himself torn between his affection for Perry and needing to manipulate him for his novel that can't be finished until the case and the fate of the two killers is finally resolved.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it, as might fans of anyone in the cast. Otherwise, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some violent images and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN plays the famous author and socialite who becomes fixated on the murder case and specifically Perry. While seemingly attracted to him to some degree (he's gay and has a gay lover/companion in the form of Jack), he ends up manipulating him for his work that eventually gets the best of him. He smokes, drinks, and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CATHERINE KEENER plays his tenacious assistant in researching the murders who's also a writer. She smokes and drinks.
  • CLIFTON COLLINS JR. plays one of the killers who eventually lets Truman interview him, mainly to try to get his help in defending his case.
  • MARK PELLEGRINO plays his fellow criminal, a less gregarious killer.
  • CHRIS COOPER plays the local sheriff working the murder case who has a personal interest in its outcome since his good friend and that man's family were the murder victims.
  • BRUCE GREENWOOD plays Truman's gay lover/companion who becomes miffed that Truman is spending so much time and energy on the story and book.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 1 use of the "f" word, while only a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Brief, but explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, while two characters are noted as being gay lovers but no related material is present. Violence consists of a flashback showing bloody murders via shotgun blasts (there are also some still photos of the aftermath), while a convicted criminal is hanged (seen in full). Those scenes and other material may be unsettling for some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Various characters smoke and/or drink throughout the film, with one seeming intoxicated in one scene, while men talk of being orphaned at a young age. Thematic elements include that, talk of suicide, the murders and the death penalty.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some brief, bouncy camerawork at several points in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Various miscellaneous people drink at a gathering, including Truman.
  • We see a bottle of liquor on the bedside table by Truman.
  • Truman and Nelle arrive at Alvin's house with a bottle of champagne or wine for Alvin's wife.
  • Truman and Nelle have martinis at Alvin's place.
  • Truman tells the story of two famous Hollywood types who drank (booze) like "famished water buffalos."
  • Nelle has a drink.
  • Truman, Nelle, Alvin and his wife have drinks. They all later have wine in front of them with dinner.
  • Truman has a drink.
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a party.
  • Truman has a drink along with others.
  • Miscellaneous people have wine in a restaurant where Truman orders another drink.
  • Perry talks about a photo of his mom and that is was before she started drinking.
  • Truman has a drink.
  • Various miscellaneous people drink at a gathering where Truman holds what looks like a glass of champagne.
  • Truman drinks.
  • We see a bottle of booze by Truman and then later see him mixing that with baby food and then eating that.
  • Truman has a drink before a movie premiere and we then see various people drinking at the reception following it. That includes Truman who has a martini and appears to be intoxicated.
  • Truman has a drink on a plane.
  • We see a drink on Truman's bedside table.
  • We hear that Truman eventually died of alcohol related problems.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We briefly see the body of a teenage girl lying in bed, facing away from the camera with blood splattered all over the wall next to her.
  • We briefly see black and white photos of the crime scene, with some blood on the victims, sheets and other things, with the teenage boy's eyes blankly starring ahead in the photo.
  • We don't see the actual act, but do see several quick flashback views of the man lying on the floor with a cut across his neck and lots of blood coming out. Perry then grabs Richard's shotgun and goes from room to room, killing the remaining family members. We see more flash and related sounds than the actual acts, but do see one impact resulting in blood splattering onto the adjacent wall.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Perry and Richard obviously have bad attitudes for robbing, binding and killing the family.
  • Truman jokingly comments on another writer asking him about that man's novel, with Truman sarcastically saying that asking a Southerner (meaning himself) about a "Negro" homosexual in love with a Jew and both being of the same gender -- adding "About a black man f*cking a Jew" -- isn't too smart.
  • A local man claims the Mexicans were the killers of the farm family.
  • Truman visits the funeral home where he sees four closed caskets. He then goes over (he's alone) and opens one to look inside.
  • When he first arrives in town, Truman says he doesn't care if Alvin catches the killers, with the lawman saying he cares.
  • After Truman says he reminds him of Nelle, Jack defensively says he doesn't share any traits with her except perhaps for manliness.
  • Truman bribes the warden of a prison to have access to interviewing Perry.
  • Truman repeatedly lies to Perry about various aspects of the book he's writing about him (some are just general lies, others are to manipulate him to get what Truman needs).
  • Recounting the night of the murder, Perry says that Richard stated he was going to have his way with the teenage daughter.
  • While so absorbed in his own work, Truman shows no graciousness to Nelle about her work being turned into a movie.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • We briefly see black and white photos of the crime scene, with some blood on the victims, sheets and other things, with the teenage boy's eyes blankly starring ahead in the photo.
  • Truman visits the funeral home where he sees four closed caskets. He then goes over (he's alone) and opens one, reacting to the view that we then see of one's head completely enclosed in a huge swath of cotton glazed with some sort of substance (no blood, gore or facial details).
  • Truman briefly mentions testimony about the murders regarding the victims being shot in the face.
  • We briefly see a somewhat menacing looking guy watching Truman (in a phone booth) at night. When Truman is done, the man gives him another stare and then retreats into a bar.
  • We hear that the prisoners lost their appeal and will be hanged (some will see that as being unsettling, others won't -- the same holds true for the below).
  • Perry watches another death row character taken away to the gallows (located within another building). Moments later, he sees a tractor come out of the building carrying the dead body (seen from a long distance).
  • Perry finally tells Truman about the night of the murder, saying he and Richard tied up the family while robbing them, but had no intent of killing them. Perry then says, however, that something snapped and he slit the father's throat. We don't see the actual act, but do see several quick flashback views of the man lying on the floor with a cut across his neck and lots of blood coming out. Perry then grabbed Richard's shotgun and went from room to room, killing the remaining family members. We see more flash and related sounds than the actual acts, but do see one impact resulting in blood splattering onto the adjacent wall.
  • The scenes leading up to a state execution and then the actual hanging may be unsettling or disturbing to viewers.
  • We see the prison's gallows being prepped, with the noose then being put around the prisoner's neck, followed by a hood and then the opening of the trap door. The body falls and snaps to a stop, with the bound feet twitching for a moment until stopping as the body spins a few times and then slightly swings back and forth.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Shotgun: Used in a flashback to kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Truman sees a boy in a supermarket brandishing a toy gun.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "About a black man f*cking a Jew," "Drank like famished water buffalos" and "None of your G*ddamn business."
  • Both Perry and Richard have various tattoos.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A minor bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (used sexually), 1 ass, 2 uses each of "G-damn," "God" and "Jesus" and 1 use of "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Truman jokingly comments on another writer asking him about that man's novel, with Truman sarcastically saying that asking a Southerner (meaning himself) about a "Negro" homosexual in love with a Jew and both being of the same gender -- adding "About a black man f*cking a Jew" -- isn't too smart.
  • We see that Truman and Jack are gay lovers, but we don't ever see any related activity between them (although some will see Truman as acting stereotypically effeminate at times in his mannerisms and speech, etc.).
  • When Truman and Nelle arrive at their house, Alvin's wife yells out for him to get his pants on (but it doesn't appear to connote any sort of earlier, unseen sexual activity as she says that in front of her guests as well as her young sons).
  • Truman publicly jokes about a hole in his pants from his scrotum to his "ass" and commenting on feeling a draft there (sometime in the past).
  • Perry tells Truman that he should stop giving Richard trashy novels and comments on the pornography in them.
  • Recounting the night of the murder, Perry says that Richard stated he was going to have his way with the teenage daughter.
  • SMOKING
  • Truman and Nelle each smoke more than 5 times, Alvin smokes at least twice, Richard smokes once and a number of miscellaneous people smoke in various scenes (parties and gatherings show many such characters smoking).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Truman recounts the day he received a call that his mother was dead, and that his stepfather just wanted him to talk about anything to keep his mind off the bad news.
  • Perry talks of being in an orphanage, followed by Truman saying he was repeatedly abandoned by his mom who'd leave with various new men and he'd be locked up. He then says he was eventually left with and raised by relatives.
  • There's talk that Perry's mother and sister killed themselves and then hear that Truman's mother did the same.
  • Truman meets Perry's other sister who says she hasn't seen him in ten years, that he scares her now and that she knows he's violent.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The real story of the murders and Truman's actions and activities in researching his book, as well as any artistic license taken with that.
  • Truman saying that it comforts him to see the bodies of the murder victims.
  • We see that Truman and Jack are gay lovers, but we don't ever see any related activity between them (although some will see Truman as acting stereotypically effeminate at times in his mannerisms and speech, etc.).
  • Truman talks about perceptions of people by others, adding that people have had theirs about him and the way he talks, etc.
  • Alvin's wife says that he got a copy of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" somewhere else as it's banned where they live.
  • The death penalty.
  • The prison warden says that Perry doesn't have the right to kill himself (via a hunger strike) and that such a right belongs to the people.
  • Whether Truman truly cared about Perry or was just using him for his book (or a combination of both).
  • Perry talks of being in an orphanage, followed by Truman saying he was repeatedly abandoned by his mom who'd leave with various new men and he'd be locked up. He then says he was eventually left with and raised by relatives.
  • There's talk that Perry's mother and sister killed themselves and then hear that Truman's mother did the same.
  • Truman's comment that it's almost as if he grew up in the same house with Perry, but that the latter went out the backdoor while Truman went out the front (meaning how their fortunes changed).
  • Truman's reaction that he's being tortured by the many stays of execution that prevent him from concluding his book (for several years).
  • We hear that Truman eventually died of alcohol related problems.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Perry finally tells Truman about the night of the murder, saying he and Richard tied up the family while robbing them, but had no intent of killing them. Perry then says, however, that something snapped and he slit the father's throat. We don't see the actual act, but do see several quick flashback views of the man lying on the floor with a cut across his neck and lots of blood coming out. Perry then grabbed Richard's shotgun and went from room to room, killing the remaining family members. We see more flash and related sounds than the actual acts, but do see one impact resulting in blood splattering onto the adjacent wall.
  • We see the prison's gallows being prepped, with the noose then being put around the prisoner's neck, followed by a hood and then the opening of the trap door. The body falls and snaps to a stop, with the bound feet twitching for a moment until stopping as the body spins a few times and then slightly swings back and forth.



  • Reviewed September 16, 2005 / Posted November 4, 2005

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