When author Truman Capote (beautifully portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman) traveled to Kansas in 1959 with good friend Harper Lee (an incandescent Catherine Keener), writing a feature for the New Yorker on the brutal murder of a local family, he didn't realize it would turn into his great novel In Cold Blood. That book was an unsurpassable literary triumph, but it also marked the beginning of Capote's personal downfall. Much of the trouble had to do with the intense relationship he struck up with one of the killers the book is based on -- Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr., who's outstanding here). Hoffman replicates Capote's high-pitched, childlike speaking voice, and when the actor walks into a room, you see Capote's keen sense of observation. When the writer interviews someone, his voice is seductive and insinuating; despite his otherworldliness, you can understand why people open up to him. Expertly directed by Bennett Miller and with a fine script by Dan Futterman, this remarkable movie is indeed an answered prayer.

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