April 22, 2024

FEUD: CAPOTE VS. THE SWANS (2024) – Fascinating potpourri of love, betrayal, remorse and forgiveness

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Feud is the anthology series created by Ryan Murphy that is based on real stories of rivalry between famous people. The first season which appeared in 2017 dramatised the well documented rivalry between two Hollywood divas in the 1960’s, the actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. It was a treat to watch as with Jessica Lange and Susan Saradon taking on the leads as Crawford and Davis respectively. After an unusually long hiatus of over 6 years, comes its second season titled “Capote vs the Swans”. The period is once again during the late 1960’s and 70’s. This time instead of a Hollywood landscape, the attention is shifted towards the high society of the New York elite.

Truman Capote is a famous American novelist who enjoys the company of rich high society women at the time. Somehow the women all loved him and treated him as “one of the girls” perhaps due to his openly gay and effeminate behaviour. However, his close friendship with them (the so called “swans”), very quickly became sour when he published a story that exposed all their intimate secrets in as a thinly veiled piece of fiction. This betrayal of their friendship made him an enemy of the women that trusted him resulting in Capote’s downfall. The film makers did not disappoint with this wonderful tapestry of juicy stories and scandals to translate onto the screen. It also has a dream cast that was a delight to watch. Heading the bill is Tom Hollander who acted brilliantly as Truman Capote. His makes Capote come across as a multifaceted person who is mischievous, sensitive and lovable. No wonder all those high society women fell for his charms. The actresses that were assembled to play the “swans” reads like a list of who’s who in Hollywood and they all gave memorable performances. We have the likes of Jessica Lange (always a Ryan Murphy favourite), Daine Lane, Chloe Sevigny, Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore (yes … Demi Moore!!!) and Molly Ringwald. But amongst these lovely ladies one stood out among them all, and she was Naomi Watts playing the pivotal role of Babe Paley, the chief prima donna of the Swans and wife of CBS chief executive. As Babe, Naomi looked absolutely stunning and classy. For me, this is my favourite character in the show. Her special relationship with Capote comes across as a touching love story within the main story.

The story of Truman Capote has been often filmed and perhaps the most famous one being “Capote” (2005) which starred the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor. I have not seen that unfortunately, so cannot make a comparison but Tom Hollander does leave an impact with what I felt was an award-winning performance as well. Perhaps this is a reflection of what a colourful and interesting person the real Truman Capote was that he brings out the best in the actors emulating him.

Feud: Capote vs The Swans is another fine example of TV at its best and I look forward to a third season (fingers crossed) for another tale of bitter rivalry.

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