Art Can’t Save Us: Revisiting Philip Seymour Hoffman in ‘Synecdoche, New York’


Philip Seymour Hoffman was, for years, an unwitting talisman for me. When I first moved to New York, it felt like I saw him everywhere. Mostly in and around Washington Square Park, where he was often walking alone, looking unkempt. Though I should talk, because really I wasn’t all that together myself. I was one of those people who sit on park benches, waiting for life to start. I am one of those people who moved to New York thinking that the ability to say I lived here would function as a kind of bridge over some gap in my soul, and then got here and found it wasn’t that simple. I clung to things as flimsy as seeing Hoffman everywhere as a sign that my life was gaining in meaning and purpose. I clung and I stared and once or twice I drove myself to believe I saw some…

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