Philip Seymour Hoffman was 46 when he passed away. When I found out I was numb for a little while (but managed to write this the day after, though I can’t remember doing it). I felt numb in that way that you can only really articulate by saying “I can’t believe it” over and over. It is an odd feeling to grieve for someone you’ve never met, only admired on a big screen, but it is still genuine emotion.
This loss is a massive one. There is nothing more I can add to that. It’s all been said already.
But I wanted to mark this horrible anniversary with a celebration of some kind, rather than dwell on melancholy. There were times in my life when I was blown away by this man. He made me laugh and cry; and sometimes he scared me. I felt like he spoke to me on a personal level and I think that’s the beauty of a greatly talented person.
I believed him always.
I’m hard pressed really to refine my favourite PSH moments. It would be very hard to narrow down my most loved performances to just a handful.
Well, sort of. I mean, of course he was exceptional as Truman Capote in Capote. He’s been great in nearly every film he put his name to (with a few exceptions), stealing scenes left right and centre.
But by far my favourite PSH turn is in Flawless. As Rusty, PSH took my admiration to a whole new level. This is how I choose to remember him, as the ballsy female impersonator with a whole lot of heart. (I reviewed the film a few years ago, here).
Rusty is the ultimate Groupie for the Underdog. Cheerleader for the brow beaten and the bullied. Fighting for the rights of the LGBT and being fucking fabulous while she does it. Reeling off one liners like rapid machine gun fire, she is exactly the kind of person you need in your life, and on your side.
Rusty is the person she is because of all the things she’s been/is going through and is the sum of all her own insecurities, all her flaws. And that’s what makes her beautiful and strong.
I used to watch this movie religiously, at least once a month. I watched it not long after PSH died and it was hard to do. I still miss him.
So this year I’ll be respectfully remembering the man I loved for over a decade, who made even the smallest character study a fascinating one, who ruled every scene he was in.
To you, PSH, forever.