2.02.2014

philip seymour hoffman, 1967-2014

If you care about independent film, you've been following the career of Philip Seymour Hoffman since the early 1990s. For a while, he was nearly ubiquitous, appearing in one brilliant small role after the next. When PSH achieved star recognition, it was as if a well-kept secret had been discovered, like hearing a song by your favourite unknown indie band suddenly sweep the pop-radio charts.

He was a phenomenal actor. He also directed, but acting was his true talent. Although "Capote" is being celebrated as his best role - and he was incredible in that film - there were dozens of high points: "Happiness," "Owning Mahoney," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Moneyball," "Magnolia," "Almost Famous," all the way back to "Scent of a Woman".

PSH turned in incredible performances as a supporting actor. He would inhabit the role, quietly perfect.

How very, very sad that he is dead at the very young age of 46.

9 comments:

Amy said...

Charlie Wilson's War was the first PSH movie that really made me sit up and notice him. After that, I tried never to miss one of his movies. Although I was not a big fan of The Master, there was not one film of his that I've seen that was a bad film. And he inhabited every role he played so completely.

It's another awful loss attributable to the disease of drug/alchohol addiction. How awfully sad.

laura k said...

Not Capote? So many people seemed to discover him then, which amazed me.

I keep thinking of more movies I loved that he was in. State and Main, 25th Hour, Talented Mr. Ripley, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

Amy said...

Believe it or not, I am not sure we saw Capote. Both of us think we did, but neither of us has a clear memory. Isn't that odd? (On second reflection, we both now think we didn't see it. We will add it to our Netflix list.)


I looked at IMDB and realized he was in some movies we saw before we knew who he was---Nobody's Fool, for example, and Patch Adams. But it was his role in Charlie Wilson's War, as I said, that put him on my radar.

Now, along with Capote, I will have to add more of his earlier movies to my list of movies to see.

laura k said...

We used to joke about how PSH was in every movie we saw. It seemed uncanny.

Capote is great, and he is incredible in it.

Weirdly, I always thought if someone made a movie about David Foster Wallace, Hoffman would play him. Now it's even stranger to think of that.

M@ said...

I haven't seen Capote, but I will at some point...

My discovery of PSH was in the Talented Mr Ripley. I absolutely hated his character, which made me realize he was really working on me as an actor.

One of my favourite roles of his was in Scent of a Woman. Again, because he was an utter piece of garbage and I hated him.

Very much a sad loss.

johngoldfine said...

My favorite PSH--one of my favorite movies ever--'The Master.' Most recently, I very much enjoyed his and Christopher Walken's work in 'A Late Quartet.'

I liked PSH so much that, I confess, I'm angry with him now for depriving me of all the movies he will not make.

laura k said...

I haven't seen The Master yet, I look forward to it.

I know what you mean about being angry. Mine is more sadness, but it's the same thing, really.

When DFW died, I kept thinking of that: no more new writing from him, ever. He's deprived of us this great thing to look forward to.

I feel that way now, too. No new roles. No more movies that will be lifted into a new level of quality by his great acting. Damn.

Marie Snyder said...

I'm surprised no article mentions either of my favourites: Pirate Radio and Synecdoche New York.

laura k said...

Hm, interesting choices. I remember enjoying Pirate Radio.