Punch-Drunk Love Reviews
[Paul Thomas Anderson]
It certainly nails the loneliness and anxious mood of Egan's personality and story, but this is very much a romance dramedy, and Anderson tackles that side of the story much more gently. This comes as quite a 180 for Anderson, following up the epic Magnolia with a 90 minute film of this genre. The romance angle is handled beautifully, technically so (with Robert Elswit's making wonderful use of color and light), but mostly narratively. Just like Egan finds a used harmonium thrust into his life, he also finds love thrust into his life as well, in the form of Emily Watson's Lena. It's a delicate relationship, but one that finds Egan's social inteptitude slowly diminishing as it blossoms. It's easy to view the relationship solely from Egan's perspective, but it's worth noting just how important Lena is as a character in this relationship. What could be interpreted as a typical manic pixie dream girl type actually holds much more under the surface: Lena may present herself a bit better than Barry, but the two certainly aren't dissimilar in their approaches to interpersonal relationships.
This is the Adam Sandler I'd like to see more of. He's performance was both funny and heart-breaking at the same time. But I couldn't bring myself to watch another Sandler film after this. He's gotten so lazy and doesn't bother staring in theses type of movies anymore. This film perfectly demonstrates that he's capable of more than what he's famous for. You can see the boiling rage inside of Sandler character and tries to contain it. He acts nice around other people and finds joy in the strangest way.
There's nothing else quite like it. The lighting, camera movements, framing, timing, and EXTREME attention to detail bring this film to a whole other level. Paul Thomas Anderson is lighting in the bottle.
Oh and Philip Seymour Hoffman stole the show with his "SHUT UP!".