Currently Watching… Capote


One night last week, I decided to watch a movie on Netflix.  I take my movie watching very seriously and hate wasting my time on something ridiculous. After browsing the new releases, I stumbled across Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Check out the trailer here:


Now, this might surprise you, but I’ve only been a fan of Capote’s since 2011. Even though I’m hugely supportive of many Southern writers and adore William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and Cormac McCarthy, I read my first Capote piece only last year.  Luckily, I started with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Trust me when I say the novella is a thousand times better than the movie.  After being blown away by the quality of Tiffany’s, I moved to In Cold Blood, easily one of the best books I’ve read in years.

Watching Capote taught me a lot about the man’s life, and I find him fascinating.  While I knew that he was considered a Southern writer and that he was friends with To Kill A Mockingbird‘s Harper Lee, what I didn’t know was that their friendship blossomed in a small town in Alabama less than 200 miles from the town where I was born and raised. Monroeville, Alabama is a city a stone’s throw from my father’s childhood home: Jay, Florida.  I grew up listening to stories of him playing basketball games in Brewton and Flomaton.  Seeing Monroeville on a map and understanding EXACTLY where Capote spent part of his childhood just blew my mind.

Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Tom McGuane and James Kirkwood

Image Credit

The movie was phenomenal.  If you are a Capote fan, watch it.  If you are a fan of literature or writing, watch it.  More than that, it’s a movie about the creative process and about your success being tied to something very, very dark.  There’s an enormous struggle here.  Capote, like many artists, has a self-centered desire to be successful and to share a great work with the world, but his creative piece is tied to someone else’s crimes/failure/death.  We see that this struggle isn’t easy for him.  He lapses into alcoholism and depression; he tries to sever the ties between himself and Perry; he even runs away to Spain.  However, the book must be published, and the last chapter relies on the “ending” of Perry’s life story.  In Cold Blood is a tremendous book.  Coupled with this movie, the work is unparalleled.

What great movies have you watched lately?