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The Philip Seymour Hoffman Bio

The Philip Seymour Hoffman Review

by Nate Lee

Best Film:


Actually, his performances in any of the award-winning films below – and the films themselves – are equal to the quality of his Mr. Capote, just maybe not as big a part.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Flawless (De Niro's vocal therapist)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (a dilettante who catches Matt Damon in his lie)
State and Main (a screenwriter)
The Savages (opposite Laura Linney, dealing with their senile father)
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (involved in killing his parents during a robbery)
25th Hour (a high-school teacher infatuated with Anna Paquin, his student)
Leap of Faith (an employee of Steve Martin)
The Boat that Rocked (a pirate dj off the coast of England in the '60s) 
Award-Winning Performances:
Doubt (Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG-nominated performance as a priest who may or may not have molested a boy)
Charlie Wilson's War (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as real-life spy Gust Avrakotos; many other wins and nominations)
Capote (Oscar, SAG and Golden Globe-winning performance as Truman Capote)
Almost Famous (SAG nominated performance, with cast, as real-life rock writer Lester Bangs)
Magnolia (SAG nominated performance, with cast)
Boogie Nights (SAG nominated performance, with cast, as film-crew member of a porn production company) 
Scent of a Woman (the spoiled rich kid who betrays Chris O'Donnell)
Cold Mountain
Capote (Capote)
Mission Impossible 3 (the bad guy)
Charlie Wilson's War
The Real Philip Seymour Hoffman:

Though obviously not a loser himself, his middle name belies the nerd at his core. He needs more parts like Gust, in "Charlie Wilson's War," to broaden his appeal. Like Capote, he has the potential to be a pioneer. Unlike the insipid theatre person in "Synecdoche," he is, fortunately, anything but boring.
Acting Style:
It's amazing how many of Hoffman's best scenes are pure dialogue. He reveals so much sensitivity and inner self in his roles – in every line – that it would seem too exhausting to keep up the schedule he does, especially as he matches his film work with theatre. Since his forte is losers, or, like Lester Bangs or Truman Capote, winners who are still out of step, his ability to go deep and mine their humanity is especially difficult and especially necessary.
Bits and Quirks:
He can ball up into a real schlump. The nerd walk with stiff arms to the side. The cigarette he often uses is his weakest bit. Leans on his hand while holding the cigarette. The squint and the smile. Rolls his eyes in defeat. Loose, lumpy, heavy-lidded stare. 
Great Scenes:
Scent of a Woman

> Caving in to his dad in the famous "school trial" scene, before Al Pacino's big speech

Mission Impossible

> The countdown
> Kidnapped in the bathroom at the Vatican
> On the plane with Cruise
> The final brawl

Charlie Wilson's War

> The first conversation with Tom Hanks in Hanks' office
> Telling off his boss at the CIA
> The conversation about arms with Egypt and Israel
> On the balcony with Hanks after it's all over
> Taking Ned Beatty to Afghanistan


> In the jail cell
> The speech in New York
> The press conference with the sheriff

Almost Famous

> All of his conversations, even over the phone, with Patrick Fugit


> The arguments with Meryl Streep, particularly the last one 
If you like Philip Seymour Hoffman You probably didn't like:
Synecdoche, New York