I'm eager to see the new film Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, not so much because I'm interested in that puffy self-satisfied egoist Truman Capote who seemed to regularly embarrass himself on TV talk shows in the drug-rattled later years of his life, (he died of an overdose in 1984, age 59), but because Hoffman is said to so exactly capture Capote's mannerisms, affectations and speech patterns that he is likely to be nominated and perhaps win Oscar this time out after having given so many bravera performances in previous films.
I'm likely to actually go to a movie theater to see this film rather than wait for the DVD which is my usual habit, because I've recently re-read In Cold Blood Capote's magnum opus said to have innovated the literary non-fiction genre. Capote was widely and rightfully celebrated for this ground-breaking book, but of the many literary non-fiction writers practicing today I'd place Capote low on the list, preferring instead, John McPhee, Tracy Kidder, Richard Rhodes, et al. whose work as literary journalists I believe is more distinguished in the George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London tradition. Still, In Cold Blood, masterly bit of writing, in a style that was cutting edge when it was published in 1965. Like other literary non-fiction since, it first appeared in four installments in the New Yorker.
In her review of the movie in Slate Daphne Merkin acknowledges the movie's success in capturing the process of writing with which I am familiar, and interested.
Capote enables us to grasp, more than any movie on the subject I have seen, what it is exactly that a writer does when he or she writes, how observation leads to perception leads to the crafting of sentences. In so doing, it gets far closer to the complicated, elusive heart of this strange calling—the way it is both an explicitly private but implicitly public act, a means of rendezvousing with the self but also of showcasing the self—than any cinematic depiction until now.
So, there you have it. Three good reasons to get out and see this movie as soon as it is widely released and comes to a theater near-by. But I know I'm going to be annoyed by all those commercials and previews.