Why I loved… Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P.)

I hope this „Why I loved…“ won’t become a regular category…

Philip Seymour Hoffman (PSH) wasn’t conventionally handsome. He had become seriously overweight in the last few years. And yet, he was one of those actors who made me go and watch a movie – just because he was listed in the cast. So he definitely deserves to be in my „Why I love“-category, even if I adored him for different reasons than I admire Alex O’Loughlin, Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston for.

I’ve seen at least 23 movies that he starred in – that’s quite a list for a 46-year-old (mind you, there were some I never watched or don’t remember having watched):

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • The Master
  • The Ides of March
  • Radio Rock Revolution
  • Mary & Max (Voice)
  • Doubt
  • Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
  • The Savages
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • Capote
  • Cold Mountain
  • 25th Hour
  • Red Dragon
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Almost Famous
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Magnolia
  • Patch Adams
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Boogie Nights
  • Twister
  • The Scent of a Woman

Admittedly, I don’t quite recall all of his roles (he was in Patch Adams and The Scent of a Woman?), since he was most often cast in supporting roles (at least until Capote, for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor), but what I do remember is that he never disppointed, no matter how small the role, no matter how challenging the role. He took some brave choices as well, for instance when he shot that sex scene in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, taking Marisa Tomei’s character doggy-style. Not a pleasant – or sensual – sight, but, hey, that’s what the Real Thing looks like. It takes enormous confidence to take part in such a scene, knowing full well that you don’t exactly conform to what’s considered sexy. And this is just one example of a long list of memorable, outstanding performances. He enriched every movie, and a typical reaction to a movie that did – as a whole – not quite meet my expectations (eg Cold Mountain), would be „But PSH was brilliant, as usual!“ He could be cruel and kind, funny and serious – and quite often you weren’t sure whether he was really a good or a bad guy. He was never typecast but played a variety of characters and must have had a really good nose (and/or agent) for the right scripts, because there are really no movies on the list above that can be considered „mistakes“.

It’s tragic that – for all that confidence and brilliance he exuded on screen – he apparently couldn’t fight his drug addiction. I hope the family he’s left behind will be able to cope with their loss.

It seems the line „Only the good die young“ has some truth to it… rest in peace!

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