MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1

This moving, well-acted docudrama explores the curious motivation for Breakfast at Tiffanys author Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to immerse himself in the gruesome murder of an obscure family in rural Kansas in 1959. Capote was enjoying sophisticated New York City life and his reputation as a writer for The New Yorker when a news article about the killings caught his eye. Accompanied by his childhood friend, Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote travels to Holcomb, Kansas, where he begins to write In Cold Blood, a book that catapults him into international fame. He bonds with Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), one of the convicted killers, and persuades the clean-cut, soft-spoken young man to share his journals. As Capotes capable research assistant, Nelle gains the confidence of chief investigator (Chris Cooper) through his gracious wife (Amy Ryan). Eventually Capote discovers that he and Perry share some of the same demons.

Capotes obsession with Perry becomes a love/hate relationship, prompting Nelle to ask him if he is in love with Perry as Capotes flamboyant homosexuality, which is portrayed neutrally, is public. Although Capote and Perry came from opposite economic backgrounds, both were abandoned by their mothers. Capote remarks that, figuratively, they grew up in the same house, but Perry went out the back door and Capote, the front door. Anger surfaces in Capote through literary success and alcoholism and in Perry through horrific violence. Images of blood-splattered victims are flashed on-screen briefly, and Perrys flashback of the killings is brief but graphic. Perrys execution by hanging is also difficult to watch. While Capote does not try to justify the horrendous event, he does arrange for legal counsel to file appeals. The authors fixation on the Kansas tragedy consumes about four years of his life, escalating his downward journey into severe alcoholism.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Sony Pictures Classics

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Once mild (damn 1)

Obscene Language: Once strong (f-word 1)

Profanity: Once strong (J 1)

Violence: Few times strong (flashback of murders, blood-splattered bodies, point-blank shootings; execution by hanging of convicted killer)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Many times moderate (frequent drinking by alcoholic portrayed as destructive, much social drinking and smoking)

Other: Man bribes warden for access to prisoner, ambitious writer finds compassion instead of hatred for killer, negative effects of childhood abandonment

Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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