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Review: 'Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation' Brings Two Celebrated Gay Writers to Life

by Kilian Melloy
Saturday Jun 12, 2021
'Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation'
'Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation'  

Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto provide the voices that bring Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams to life in Lisa Immordino Vreeland's documentary "Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation."

The film isn't a conversation as such, but it does assemble archival clips, photos, and footage from films based on the works of the two great American writers, but the stars here are Parsons and Quinto, who do laudable work.

Willams and Capote did know each other, and they did move in the same circles and have some of the same friends (Gore Vidal was one mutual friend). They met when Capote was still a teen and made an instant connection - though, as Quinto drawls in his Williams voiceover, the friendship was an intellectual one, with nothing physical.

The two certainly had plenty of commonalities, from a lack of paternal connection as children to lifelong struggles with depression and addiction, as well as periods spent abroad and their openness about being gay. Then, of course, there was their status as celebrated American writers.

But they also had their differences, and they could be unflattering toward one another; though they were both living in the same place abroad at the same time at one juncture, Williams was uninterested in sharing a house with Capote, Capote's partner Jack, and their dog, because "there would be more than one bitch under the roof, that's for sure."

One of their biggest differences was the way Capote embraced fame and notoriety, while Williams viewed it with skepticism. Avoiding Capote's legendary "Black and White Ball," Williams mused that "People are never so unattractive as when they think you are worth impressing." (Capote, on the other hand, saw high living as a way of laughing at mortality.)

Still, though their affections may have waxed and waned on a personal level to some degree, they seemingly held each other in esteem as artists. This fascinating dual portrait brings the two together where possible (there's one particularly amusing anecdote about Capote and Vidal breaking into Williams' New York apartment), but the conversations that happen here - plural, mind you - is between each of the men and the world at large.


"Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation" screens at Frameline June 17 and opens in theaters on Friday, June 18 in New York (Film Forum), Los Angeles (Nuart, Laemmle Playhouse 7, Town Center 5) and is also available on virtual cinemas nationwide through KinoMarquee.com

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


Frameline 2021

This story is part of our special report titled "Frameline 2021." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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