First Time Watch: February 7, 2018
“I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.”
Punch-Drunk Love, released in 2002 and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, tells the story of a middle-aged man named Barry Egan, who’s emotionally unpredictable, and is often teased by his multiple sisters and their husbands by acting the way he acts. After a lonely night of sitting at home, Barry calls a phone sex hotline, only to find out soon after, that it was all a scam. Now Barry must suffer the consequences of the phone sex scammers who aim to cause him harm, while also dealing with his new love interest. As a huge fan of Anderson’s work on the multiple films that he has written and directed, it was surprising to me that I had not even seen this movie, much less even heard a slight summary. But in my goal to watch films that I should have watched by now, I wanted to make sure that Punch-Drunk Love was on the list. And seeing how it’s February, I felt it fitting to review the film this month.
The film stars Adam Sandler as our main character, Barry. Barry is eccentric, and at times, sad and depressing. It’s hard for me to like Sandler in his various films, but he fits the character of Barry so well. But even with all of Barry’s odd personality traits, he is a lovable protaganist. As he begins his relationship with this woman, you’re rooting for him to not screw it up. As for Emily Watson, who plays his love interest, Lena Leonard, she is equally quirky in her own way. The way she even meets Barry, you later find out, is part of her doing and her desire to meet him. There are times when I felt myself relating to Barry in an odd way. The way his emotions can take hold and make him do some stupid things. I believe we all can relate. He shows the loneliness on screen that many romantic movies don’t really show. Also in showing that these two main characters are not model-like attractive, they looked like two real people who have so many similarities and interests, that they fall in love right before our eyes.
Anderson’s script does take the cake in providing to the audience a genuine relationship. His storytelling, as well as the filming process is so original. The way Anderson filmed his version on screen was like being in a dream state. He constantly uses colorful lens flares throughout. The pastel colors add to film, but do not saturate or even blind your eyes. Anderson’s true visionary style continues throughout his incredible filmography.
Punch-Drunk Love is an amazing story with beautiful imagery and a touching narrative. Though the story tripped up at certain points, it’s hard not to enjoy. Watching these two quirky characters fall in love on screen will give you a warm tug at your heart, which is what we need most during such trying times in our lives.
If you guys are interested in following me on “My Crazy Film Journey,” I suggest you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Letterboxd for a heads up to the next movie I will be watching. And if you’re really interested, find out what I say about the upcoming movie on the “Crazy Film Journey” schedule as I sit down to watch Scott Pilgrim VS The World.
Written and Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman