Playing the Margins

Philip Seymour Hoffman specializes in outcasts

Philip Seymour Hoffman knows how to make you wince. Remember his Scotty, the hapless gofer who desperately lunged to kiss porn star Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights? Or his wrenching portrayal of Allen, the obscene phone caller in Todd Solondz's Happiness? Now Joel Schumacher's Flawless brings us Rusty, a transsexual who befriends a homophobic stroke victim played by Robert De Niro. It's a typically gutsy performance that tightropes between drag-queen camp and the pathos of a man who believes he's the butt of a biological practical joke.

What keeps moviegoers watching is, well, Hoffman himself, embodying these down-and-outers...

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