Critics hail Tom Hollander as 'truest Truman yet' in Feud: Capote vs The Swans

The FX series is out now on Disney+

FEUD: CAPOTE VS THE SWANS WOMEN 2024 serie TV creee par Ryan Murphy, Jaffe Cohen et Michael Zam saison 2 episode 1 Tom Hollander. Prod DB © Plan B Ent
Tom Hollander as Truman Capote in Feud: Capote vs the Swans. (FX)

Feud: Capote vs the Swans is now available in the UK, giving Disney+ subscribers the chance to enjoy the latest anthology series from Ryan Murphy.

The series — like the 2017 series about Bette Midler and Joan Crawford — follows a high society rivalry, this one kicked off when Truman Capote wrote a thinly-veiled fictional piece for Esquire which his circle of friends, dubbed "the Swans" saw as a betrayal of confidence. The women decide to push Capote out of their group and vow to get revenge, thus the aforementioned rivalry.

Critics were left impressed with the series, but namely the show's cast who were heralded for their exquisite performances. Naomi Watts, Demi Moore, and Russell Tovey were all picked out for their roles as Babe Paley, Ann Woodward, and Capote's boyfriend John O'Shea, but it was Tom Hollander who received the most praise for his portrayal of the author himself.

Naomi Watts as Babe Paley in Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans. (FX)
Naomi Watts as Babe Paley in Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans, which follows the rivalry between the author and his female friends who vow revenge when he writes a fictional piece based on their lives. (FX)

Evening Standard's Anna van Praagh heaped praise on Hollander, sharing that he "embodies Capote with total mastery in a performance that will surely win him many, many awards."

The critic added: "His intonation, his high-pitched voice and eccentric mannerisms are all performed with such skill that at times as the viewer you don’t know if you’re watching Hollander or library footage. And it’s not just the comportment and voice he captures, but the tragedy of a man who knows his demons have demolished his gifts."

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While Hollander was the main focus of such praise the critic added that "every actor shines" in the show, particularly Watts, Tovey and Moore.

Similarly celebrating Hollander's performance, and comparing it to past depictions of Capote by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toby Jones, The Telegraph's Jasper Rees wrote: "Tom Hollander’s turn in Feud: Capote vs the Swans may be the truest Truman yet."

Naomi Wats as Barbara
Tom Hollander was praised by critics as the "truest" portrayal of Truman Capote. (FX)

The critic adds: "Naomi Watts chills as the haughty Babe Paley, Capote’s swan-in-chief. Her cold fury hurts him more than any sock on the jaw from a violent boyfriend, and her forgiveness is the thing Capote craves more than fame or wealth, and when he doesn’t get it he drinks. Hollander’s addict acting is a genuine marvel."

The Independent's Nick Hilton noted the great work of the show's cast, writing: "Murphy has assembled a fantastic collection of actresses... It is the sort of cast that only a showrunner like Murphy could attract."

But the critic stipulated that while the cast were impressive the show's writing had some issues, namely that the feud it focuses on feels too small. Hilton wrote: "For some, the central tension will seem too small stakes. A rift between vapid luncheon-ers and their pet author? For others, Capote’s Winnie the Pooh voice will be more irritating than enchanting. But Murphy manages to capture the appeal, both of Capote and the world that he so vividly depicted."

Tom Hollander,
One critic said that Tom Hollander 'embodies Capote with total mastery in a performance that will surely win him many, many awards.' (FX)

The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg said that the show features "eight hours of exceptional performances" but the writing makes the show feel like a series of two halves.

The critic said: "When it comes to the eponymous feud and building drama from its stakes, it is mostly two different series that only occasionally intersect: Feud: Capote vs. Alcoholism and The Real Historical Housewives of Manhattan, though I guess the latter description implies camp and almost nothing in Feud feels camp (or, honestly, fun), despite a setting and subject that afford every opportunity for that sensibility."

Fienberg went on: "The greatest appreciators of Capote vs. The Swans are likely to be viewers who know their Limoges from their Majolica — who appreciate impeccably photographed pseudo-French bistro cuisine, who can debate the auction values of Monets and Manets like ordinary people debate brands of mayonnaise and who will be able to carefully catalogue each of Capote’s myriad hats."

Feud: Capote vs the Swans is available to watch in full on Disney+ now.

Watch the trailer for Feud: Capote vs the Swans: