I was shocked to hear the news last night. And I was not alone, in view of the reaction from numerous people on my FB news feed. How the f— does a man of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s stature and fame—not to mention age—find himself with several packs of heroin and a needle in his arm? One associates this with underclass junkies, not someone so universally appreciated and with financial assets in at least the eight figures. Don’t get it. He’s being called the greatest (American) actor of his generation. I’ll put him in the top five, if not the top three. He played in some 50 feature-length films, according to IMDB. I’ve seen 12 by my count, the last one ‘The Master’. In my mini review of this last June, I wrote that PSH’s performance was extraordinary. He entirely carried what would have otherwise been a lesser film. I can’t think of another actor who could have pulled off his performance. R.I.P.
UPDATE: The New Yorker’s Richard Brody has a great tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman and what Brody correctly calls PSH’s genius. He begins with this
Philip Seymour Hoffman gave one of the greatest onscreen performances that anyone ever gave, in “The Master”
Several friends on FB have taken me to task for I what I wrote above on heroin, arguing that heroin is less the issue than addiction, which is a chronic illness, and that PSH manifestly suffered from. Dont acte. (Feburary 4th)