Dustin Hoffman's Filmography

For more than forty years, Dustin Hoffman has been a cinematic icon. He may have an unassuming presence, but his performances, however small, pack a punch. Among the 16 Hoffman’s movies that I have seen, I have only rated four with low marks, namely The Tale of Despereaux (♦♦), Sphere (♦♦♦), Wag the Dog (♦♦♦) and Hook (♦♦♦). The Tale of Despereaux is an animated movie with a star-studded cast about a mouse that is different to all others because he has big ears, big dreams and is not afraid of cats. He falls in love with a human princess and sets out to win her heart. The story is meant to be charming, except I’ve never understood Hollywood’s fascination with portraying mice as cute and funny creatures; those animals spread serious diseases and should not be taken lightly! In Sphere, an alien spacecraft falls into the sea and a team of scientists of different backgrounds are sent to investigate; in the process they discover that is not an alien but a human spacecraft came from the future. In Wag the Dog, Hoffman stars as a Hollywood producer who helps create a fictitious war in the media to distract the public from a sex scandal the American president has been involved in. The remarkable similarity between this film and Bill Clinton’s presidency is the major attraction of this motion picture. Last, but not least, Hook is an alternate version of Peter Pan’s story in Neverland. Unfortunately, an all-star cast does little for the movie.

In contrast to the films reviewed above, some of the remaining ones are thought provoking such as Last Chance Harvey (♦♦♦♦), The Lost City (♦♦♦♦♦), Hero (♦♦♦♦♦), Kramer vs. Kramer (♦♦♦♦) and All The President’s Men (♦♦♦♦♦), while others are delightfully entertaining such as Stranger than Fiction (♦♦♦♦♦), Meet the Fockers (♦♦♦♦♦), Rain Man (♦♦♦♦♦) and Tootsie (♦♦♦♦♦). Perfume: the Story of a Murderer (♦♦♦♦♦), based on the homonymous novel is as eerie as it gets, while Finding Neverland (♦♦♦♦♦) is sad and compelling.

In Last Chance Harvey, Hoffman stars opposite Emma Thompson as Harvey, a jingle writer who is given an ultimatum at work when he says he is planning to attend his estranged daughter’s wedding in London. At the airport’s bar he meets Kate, who is reading a book, and they start a conversation. Later Harvey, who doesn’t dare to go to the wedding alone, invites Kate to accompany him. Their relationship changes both for better and the audience gets to enjoy witty lines and second chances along the way. Worth seen! The Lost City a beautiful, little movie more appealing to its Cuban audience than the rest of the public. It’s their loss, however! Brilliantly directed by Andy Garcia, it is the story of the Fellove family and their three sons, Ricardo, Luis and Fico, a club owner. Ricardo and Luis join two different ideological currents in the nascent revolutionary movement, while at Fico’s club everyone is guaranteed to have a good time…That is until Castro’s Revolution unfolds threatening the stability of his family and of Cuban society as a whole. Period details and music, as well as a great script make this movie very satisfying! Andy Garcia, Irene Sastre and Bill Murray co-star. In Hero, a plane crash becomes the setting for a less than noble man to show a sudden act of heroism; a TV reporter who is rescued from the crash is inclined to believe that a good-looking veteran is actually her savior. Andy Garcia and Geena Davis co-star. All The President’s Men is the story of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two New York Times reporters who uncovered the truth behind the Watergate scandal and broke the news to the nation setting in motion the unraveling of Nixon’s presidency. The movie is as suspenseful as it gets. One of my all-time favorites!

In Stranger than Fiction, Hoffman is a college professor of Literature who is consulted by Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), an IRS auditor who doesn’t know how to live, when he suspects he is the main character in a novel after he starts hearing a voice in his head narrating his life. The voice tells Harold that he is soon going to die, so he has to find who the author is and convince him or her that he shouldn’t be killed. Along the way, Harold falls in love with a rebellious baker (Maggie Gyllenhaal) he has been auditing. The script is delicate and moving. It’s hard not to love this movie! In Rain Man, Hoffman stars opposite Tom Cruise as Ray, the autistic savant older brother, who goes to live with Charlie after their rich father has died leaving Ray as the sole heir. What begins as a plan to seize Ray’s fortune soon becomes an adventure that will make Charlie think twice about hurting his brother. My favorite scenes are when Ray starts reciting the phone book at a restaurant and also when Ray starts counting cards in a Vegas casino. Last, but not least, Perfume: the Story of a Murderer is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man with an extraordinary sense of smell, who goes from being a perfumist apprentice to become a master of his trade all the while obsessed with capturing the scent of every young woman he kills. Eerie, but brilliant movie!

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