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Start Slideshow Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master

sadness

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Greatest Performances in Film

Where do we even start? For a while, Philip Seymour Hoffman — who was found dead in his apartment Sunday morning from what appears to be a drug overdose — seemed like America’s go-to sad sack, but that does absolutely no justice to his staggering range, or to the humanity he brought to his parts. Look on his filmography and despair at its unthinkable breadth – from Happiness to The Talented Mr. Ripley, from State and Main to Flawless, from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead to The Master. He didn’t transform into these parts, he consumed them – in the best, most brilliant way possible. What was it that made them so clearly his? Maybe it was the vulnerability he brought to even his most disposable roles — the fact that, even at their worst, there was something to these characters, something in them we recognized in ourselves. Maybe that’s why this bewildering, tragic death hurts so much: because he feels like someone we knew, even if we only knew him from a movie screen. And because he felt like someone who understood us at our weakest, most fragile moments. Here are twelve of his best and most interesting parts. There are at least twelve others that could easily be on this list, and that doesn't even get into his astounding work in the theater. (Please share your own favorites in the comments.)