Philip Seymour Hoffman


Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) was an American actor, director, and producer. Known for playing distinctive supporting and character roles, Hoffman acted in many films from the early 1990s until his death in 2014. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of his generation. Born and raised in Fairport, New York, Hoffman was drawn to theater in his youth after attending a stage production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at age 12. Hoffman studied acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and began his screen career in a 1991 episode of Law & Order and started to appear in films in 1992. Early films include My New Gun (1992), with Diane Lane, James Le Gros, Stephen Collins, and Tess Harper; and Leap of Faith (1992), with Steve Martin, Debra Winger, Lolita Davidovich, Liam Neeson, Lukas Haas, and Meat Loaf.

He gained recognition for his supporting work, notably in Scent of a Woman (1992), with Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell; Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Boogie Nights (1997), with Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds; Todd Solondz‘s Happiness (1998), Patch Adams (1998), with Robin Williams; Joel & Ethan Coen‘s The Big Lebowski (1998), with Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro; Magnolia (1999), featuring an all-star cast including Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore; The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn, Sergio Rubini, and Philip Baker Hall; David Mamet‘s State and Main (2000), with William H. Macy; Almost Famous (2000), with Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, and Noah Taylor; Punch-Drunk Love (2002) with Adam Sandler and Emily Watson; Spike Lee‘s 25th Hour (2002), with Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox; and Along Came Polly (2004), with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston.

He began to occasionally play leading roles, and for his portrayal of the author Truman Capote in Capote (2005), with Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Mark Pellegrino, Amy Ryan, and Chris Cooper. He won multiple accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Actor. His profile continued to grow and he received three more Oscar nominations for his supporting work as a brutally frank CIA officer in Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts; a priest accused of pedophilia in Doubt (2008), with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams; and the charismatic leader of a Scientology-type movement in The Master (2012), with Joaquin Phoenix and Adams.

While he mainly worked in independent films, including The Savages (2007), with Laura Linney; and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York (2008), with Keener; he also appeared in Joel Schumacher‘s Flawless (1999), with Robert De Niro; and Hollywood blockbusters such as Twister (1996), with Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, and Cary Elwes; Mission: Impossible III (2006), with Cruise Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Simon Pegg, and Laurence Fishburne; and in one of his final roles, as Plutarch Heavensbee in the Hunger Games series (2013–15), with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.

The feature Jack Goes Boating (2010) marked his debut as a filmmaker. Hoffman was also an accomplished theater actor and director. He joined the off-Broadway LAByrinth Theater Company in 1995, where he directed, produced, and appeared in numerous stage productions. His performances in three Broadway plays—True West in 2000, Long Day’s Journey into Night in 2003, and Death of a Salesman in 2012—all led to Tony Award nominations.

Hoffman struggled with drug addiction as a young adult and relapsed in 2013 after many years of abstinence. In February 2014, he died of combined drug intoxication. Remembered for his fearlessness in playing reprehensible characters, and for bringing depth and humanity to such roles, Hoffman was described in his New York Times obituary as “perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation.”

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole (1991) – directed by Amos Poe – credited as Phil Hoffman
  • My New Gun (1992) – directed by Stacy Cochran
  • Szuler (1992) – directed by Adek Drabiński – aka Cheat – Poland/US
  • Leap of Faith (2002) – directed by Richard Pearce
  • Scent of a Woman (1992) – directed by Martin Brest – credited as Philip S. Hoffman
  • Joey Breaker (1993) – directed by Steven Starr
  • My Boyfriend’s Back (1993) – directed by Bob Balaban
  • Money for Nothing (1993) – directed by Ramón Menéndez
  • The Getaway (1994) – directed by Roger Donaldson
  • When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) – directed by Luis Mandoki
  • Nobody’s Fool (1994) – directed by Robert Benton
  • The Fifteen Minute Hamlet (1995) – directed by Todd Louiso – short
  • Hard Eight (1996) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Twister (1996) – directed by Jan de Bont
  • Boogie Nights (1997) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Culture (1998) – directed by Josh Gordon & Will Speck – short
  • Montana (1998) – directed by Jennifer Leitzes
  • Next Stop Wonderland (1998) – directed by Brad Anderson
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)** – directed by Joel & Ethan Coen
  • Happiness (1998) – directed by Todd Solondz
  • Patch Adams (1998) – directed by Tom Shadyac
  • Flawless (1999) – directed by Joel Schumacher
  • Magnolia (1999) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – directed by Anthony Minghella
  • State and Main (2000) – directed by David Mamet
  • Almost Famous (2000) – directed by Cameron Crowe
  • The Party’s Over (2001) directed by Rebecca Chalkin & Donovan Leitch – documentary
  • Love Liza (2002) – directed by Todd Louiso
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Red Dragon (2002) – directed by Brett Ratner
  • 25th Hour (2002) – directed by Spike Lee
  • Owning Mahowny (2003) – directed by Richard Kwietniowski
  • Cold Mountain (2003) – directed by Anthony Minghella
  • Along Came Polly (2004) – directed by John Hamburg
  • Strangers with Candy (2005) – directed by Paul Dinello
  • Capote (2005) – directed by Bennett Miller – also executive producer
  • Mission: Impossible III (2006) – directed by J.J. Abrams
  • The Savages (2007) – directed by Tamara Jenkins
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) – directed by Sidney Lumet
  • Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) – directed by Mike Nichols
  • Synecdoche, New York (2008) – directed by Charlie Kaufman
  • Doubt (2008) – directed by John Patrick Shanley
  • Mary and Max (2009) – directed by Adam Elliot
  • The Boat That Rocked (2009) – directed by Richard Curtis – aka Pirate Radio
  • The Invention of Lying (2009) – directed by Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson
  • Jack Goes Boating (2010) – also director, executive producer
  • The Ides of March (2011) – directed by George Clooney
  • Moneyball (2011)* – directed by Bennett Miller
  • The Master (2012) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • A Late Quartet (2012) – directed by Yaron Zilberman
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) – directed by Francis Lawrence
  • God’s Pocket (2014) – directed by John Slattery – also producer
  • A Most Wanted Man (2014) – directed by Anton Corbijn
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) – directed by Francis Lawrence – posthumous release
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) – directed by Francis Lawrence posthumous release