Whatever Happened to Harper Lee?

The number of people dying to know what happened to Harper Lee has never been very large . .. maybe a few curious high school students who actually read To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few more high school English teachers who did more than the curriculum required. I gather from Wikipedia that she is still alive, although never grants interviews and never wrote another novel after her first.

One of the many successes of the sensitive and astute film Capote is that it hints at the cause of her putative disappearance: Capote murdered her with his profound negligence of someone who devoted so much energy to him.

That isn't what the movie is about. Nor is it about what a nasty person Capote was (as a stupid woman walking behind me leaving the movie theater said to her husband/date). Philip Seymour Hoffman creates a remarkable and Oscar-worthy picture of the man who could write and live the idea -- to paraphrase Capote's inscription in In Cold Blood -- that sometimes more tears are shed for dreams fulfilled than for those not realized.

After watching Hoffman and Catherine Keener as Harper Lee, I can't help but think that Lee may still be shedding tears for Capote's dreams fulfilled . . . and for her own.

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