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Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

tomatometer

79

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 183
Fresh: 145 | Rotten: 38

Odd, touching, and unique, Punch-Drunk Love is also delightfully funny, utilizing Adam Sandler's comic persona to explore the life of a lonely guy who finds love.

79

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 8

Odd, touching, and unique, Punch-Drunk Love is also delightfully funny, utilizing Adam Sandler's comic persona to explore the life of a lonely guy who finds love.

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 136,751

My Rating

Movie Info

Adam Sandler and Emily Watson star in Punch-Drunk Love, an odd romantic comedy from gifted young director Paul Thomas Anderson. Sandler plays Barry Egan, a shy sad-sack with a great deal of repressed anger that occasionally bursts forth in sudden violent outrages, who falls in love with Lena Leonard (Emily Watson), a co-worker of one of Barry's seven sisters. After calling a phone-sex line, Barry is extorted by bad-guy Dean Trumbell (Anderson regular Philip Seymour Hoffman), who eventually sends

R,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Paul Thomas Anderson

Jun 24, 2003

$17.8M

Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (191) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (145) | Rotten (38) | DVD (44)

It's a romantic comedy on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film looks good and has its funny moments, but too often one senses Anderson straining to impress...

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is quite a vision.

November 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The journey toward redemption feels more like a cinematic experiment than a full-blown movie.

October 26, 2002 | Comment (1)
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite its title, Punch-Drunk Love is never heavy-handed. The jabs it employs are short, carefully placed and dead-center.

October 25, 2002 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Easily one of the best and most exciting movies of the year.

October 25, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Odd romantic journey for adults and older teens.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

While certainly sweet, Love is more compelling as a veiled threat, with Anderson jerking the audience around, wielding abrasive characters and hostile situations in a manner I've come to adore.

December 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Modamag.com
Modamag.com

One of the best and most poignant films of 2002...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Shots, such as when Sandler and Watson kiss in silhouette, are truly memorable -- but Punch-Drunk Love is never more than this: a series of chocolate-box moments, PT-style.

May 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

...Punch-Drunk Love is (and always will be) the crowning achievement within Anderson's filmography.

January 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (3)
Reel Film Reviews

It's clear by now that whatever characterization skill Anderson showed in his lean, mean debut, 1997's Hard Eight, was a fluke.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (11)
eFilmCritic.com

A trifle at 89 minutes with a genuine, heartfelt performance by Mr. Sandler, and not much else.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Watson is simply radiant with her goofy and beautiful smile, while Sandler's psychotic nice-guy schtick makes for some really great moments.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Paul Thomas Anderson used Sandler for a very specific purpose -to convey a sense of tough-luck awkwardness and smile-masking-frown frustration, and it worked perfectly.

January 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com | Comment (1)
Bangitout.com

Anderson is simply punch-drunk on the possibilities of cinema, and sophisticated film lovers will be more than willing to go wherever he goes -- yes, even to an Adam Sandler movie.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

What really makes this movie so special, apart from the revelation that Adam Sandler can act, is the direction.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs | Comment (1)
Three Movie Buffs

Punch-drunk Love reminds me of why I go to movies in the first place. To be challenged, surprised, transported, inspired, and exhilarated.

January 15, 2005 | Comment (1)
Looking Closer

The elements of tragedy aren't life and death issues in this movie, and Anderson's film wisely contains itself to the microcosm of this one man's beleaguered existence.

February 1, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmStew.com

[I]t's no secret that... certain films [are] critic's darlings... leav[ing] moviegoers vowing never to trust a critic again. This season [it's] Punch-Drunk Love.

January 1, 2004 Full Review | Comments (8)

Unlike any romantic comedy this year, with a vision so wondrously off-kilter that you'll be swept off your feet by it, even if you don't fall in love at first sight.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

No cumple con todas las expectativas, pero sigue siendo uno de los directores más originales y talentosos que el cine norteamericano tiene para ofrecer.

November 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Gimmicks in search for a heart and a soul.

October 15, 2003 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

In his effort to 'redefine' the romantic comedy, Anderson has made a film that is neither romantic nor funny.

September 6, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

Audience Reviews for Punch-Drunk Love

Sublime and surreal, this is quite a film from Paul Thomas Anderson. It is a smaller film from him, but one that is still as impressive as his others.

The plot follows a shy sad sack prone to occasionally violent outbursts who begins dating a woman as equally shy and awkward as him. He's got seven sisters who hate and mock him, and he's got four goons after him looking for money after he gets extorted following a phone call he made to a phone sex line.

The film is weird, as it is a surreal romantic dramedy, but like Brazil, despite that there are dark undertones (more subtle here than in Brazil) there is a quirky, uplifting feeling and charm as well...which I really enjoyed. Whimsical is the perfect way to describe this film. The acting is superb-leave it at that. No, I'm not kidding. This is Sandler's best.

This film above all, is just wonderful to look at, and another reason for why it's so charming and great. It is a bit rough around the edges, and kinda bizarre, but it's really hard not to like, which is sad since it's still pretty underrated, but I really hope that changes.
September 16, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A visually interesting and unconventional love story about a very awkward character coming into his own. I've tried, but I just don't think P.T. Anderson is my kind of film-maker - I recognize why the work he's doing is good, but I don't enjoy it all that much. Of course, all Anderson acolytes tell me that you have to watch his movies a few times before you really see how much he's doing, and how well. I'm open to revising my opinion someday... in the meantime, Sandler surprises here, and there is some wacky intrigue, but overall it comes of like the Coen brothers with an MFA. Not terrible, just not my cup of tea.
December 16, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

It takes place in The Big Lebowski universe of logic. And I adore it.
July 31, 2012
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

'Punch-Drunk Love'. This film vibrates at a very unique, weird frequency, and could easily be mistaken for a Charlie Kaufman job; everything from the set up to the absolutely kooky score, which really adds a level of chaos to it all! Not sure if it's meant to be mirroring his own mind, but I remember it felt like it got louder and louder in some of the scenes at his office, and you get lost in it.

Adam Sandler turns in clearly the best performance of his career, as a socially-challenged, female-dominated, always on the verge of violent rage, sad, lonely man. He's got a constantly absurd demeanour about him, and I never expected this from Sandler.

Paul Thomas Anderson is clearly a genius. The shout-off with Philip Seymour Hoffman is hilarious. The entire plot is darkly rich in humour, and the camera-work has a noticeable flare about it, especially in the scene early on, alternating between Sandler at the counter and taking phone calls from his sisters.

Speaking of flare, lens flare much?
July 10, 2012
c0up
c0up  

Super Reviewer

    1. Barry Egan: I laugh. I laugh and laugh, even when I'm alone.
    – Submitted by Jacob M (46 days ago)
    1. Lena Leonard: So here we go.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Barry Egan: I didn't ask for a shrink, that must've been somebody else. Also, that pudding isn't mine. Also, I'm wearing this suit today because I had a very important meeting this morning, and I don't have a crying problem.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Lena Leonard: People are just crazy in this world, I think.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Barry Egan: You can go to places in the world with pudding. That's funny.
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
    1. Lena Leonard: Oh, I'm sorry. Was that like, a secret pudding?
    – Submitted by Kia M (2 months ago)
View all quotes (13)

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Foreign Titles

  • Punch-Druk Love (DE)
  • Punch drunk love (FR)
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