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.


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.