An Appreciation of…Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)

The cinema world mourns the death of one of the greatest actors in history

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was cut short due to the misuse and abuse of drugs. This proves how dangerous drugs are in destroying an artist’s potential. It is not right to blame him for his death, because the demons this man fought will never be known, and it is not our business to know. Instead, we should love and praise his body of work and his legacy as an artist and phenomenal actor.

I will best remember Phil from his amazing collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson. However, the man starred in so many films, and his filmography is the envy of his contemporaries. You can throw a dart at a Philip Seymour Hoffman film and come out with an amazing performance that can match that of the greatest actors in history.

To me, what made Phil so amazing was how he wasn’t a typical Hollywood stud, but he still blew his fellow actors out of the water with his remarkable talent for characterization and morphing into these characters. He was a magnificent actor, and he will join John Cazale and James Gandolfini as actors with so much talent who left us too soon.

In appreciation of him, here are seven films you can watch to honour Phil and show what a great artist he is. I am omitting his collaborations with PTA, because they can fill up the whole list because they show him at the top of his game:

  1. Capote (his Academy Award-winning role is both amazing, heartbreaking and beautiful. One of the greatest film performances in history)
  2. Almost Famous (a smaller role, but an incredibly effective one that shows off Phil in all his charm)
  3. Synecdoche, New York (a weird, beautiful drama about life and death)
  4. Along Came Polly (a bit of an overlooked performance mainly because he was overshadowed by the mediocre story. But his narcissistic character was both hilarious and oddly real)
  5. The Savages (showing Phil in his prime – a dark indie comedy. And man, is it beautiful)
  6. Doubt (one of Phil’s darkest performances, and one of his greatest)
  7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (only Phil could effectively go from indie comedy to heartbreaking drama to big-budget blockbuster with such ease)

However, you need to take into account that the man was a superb artist, and all his performances are incredibly special. Have a look at his directorial effort Jack Goes Boating

Rest in peace, Philip. We won’t forget your great contribution to cinema.

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