Year: 2002 | Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson | Roundup Rating: A
Paul Thomas Anderson never cease to amazed me. He is truly one of the best living filmmakers around and definitely one of my top favorites. I've been wanting to see Punch-Drunk Love for ages but I never got the chance...until now. Punch-Drunk Love is a romantic film, and if you're a fan of PT Anderson you would know that it doesn't always happen in his repertoire. Basically the subject of loneliness, alienation and the craving for human contact is there, which is a recurring theme in his films.
Adam Sandler's character, Barry Egan, has seven doting and emasculating sisters; he is self-sufficient, runs and owns his own company but remains to be relationship less at his age. Although he appears to be a nice guy he has some problems with aggression. When he gets angry over something he loses control and he trashes things around him. Sandler is famous for being a comedic actor. He made his career from being funny, but this movie was able to showcased his various acting skills. I actually got carried away with the scene where he was talking to his brother in-law pleading him to get him a psychiatrist because he is really lonely. In my opinion, he was that desperate to have someone to talk to, to the point of phoning a sex hotline just to have some faceless bimbo listen to him for once.
It is strange for me to be watching this film at this particular moment of my life because not only I could relate to Adam Sandler's character but I know exactly how it feels to be lonely like him. It's frustrating to crave for attention, especially if you've been on that path for a really long time. You just want to scream to the world, "okay, I'm exhausted can somebody please help me out of here!" But nobody really listens, nobody gives a damn, especially if they find you useless in their lives. When Barry Egan was running for his life because some crooks is after his money it rings a bell to me how sad when the only people chasing after you are from rip off companies, petty thieves and credit card collectors. Sometimes you can't help the desire (of wanting) to kill yourself. After all, human beings are engineered to love and be loved. How can you have that basic desire if nobody, not even a single soul, cares for you. So Barry starts to buy these grocery food items from Healthy Choices in order to collect frequent flier miles so he could travel the world. He is tired of being lonely so he felt the need to stop living with himself by being somewhere else far away from his obnoxious family.
The silver lining of the story is the arrival of Lena (Emily Watson). She is a strange girl, with a strange taste. And she likes him a lot despite of what his sisters said about him. In my opinion, that's the whole thing about attraction. You see something special about someone and it may not be a shared point of view, but it doesn't really matter as long as you are satisfied. In a world full of people chances are we would find someone (equally strange) who would love and accept us for who we are. I think that's the whole thing about this movie, although there's nothing really poetic about it, but the realistic touch of the story is really beautiful and deep. We are carried into life not removed from it. Through Lena we saw the importance of going after what we want and just seizing the moment. If she did not gave him her number or made the first move nothing will happen. So it's important to take our chances when it's right there in front of us and if we let it go we are also letting go of our own opportunity to be happy.
If you've never seen any movie by Paul Thomas Anderson it is best to start with Punch-Drunk Love because comedy and romance is easier to take in, especially if you are not that adept to characters that are dark and bitter. This is a really good film and it's totally different from his previous and later works. What more can I say, I'm a fan.