A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Returning from Navy service in World War II, Freddie Quell drifts through a series of breakdowns. Finally he stumbles upon a cult which engages in exercises to clear emotions and he becomes deeply involved with them. Written by
Alan Young, edit Hal Issen
Chosen as the best film of the half decade by the A.V. Club. See more »
When Freddie starts undergoing processing at Helen's house, Lancaster Dodd has a handkerchief in his left hand but as the camera switches to a different angle, the handkerchief has shifted to his right hand. See more »
If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you'd be the first person in the history of the world.
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The DVD special-features menu has a reversed image of Joaquin Phoenix's face. You can tell by the scar above his lip. See more »
I know, everyone is gushing about this movie. That, on top of the fact that I am a PT Anderson fan (Magnolia, for one, is probably a top 10 favorite of mine), is what made this so disappointing.
First, the good. Amy Adams does very well in a supporting role. The whole thing is beautifully filmed, and I liked the music as well. I thought it captured the feel of the time period very well.
On to the bad (of which there is substantially more, in my view). I'll start with the plot. There is almost none, and the movie has no hook. It never made me forget I was sitting in a movie theater. Its pace is maddeningly slow, and it is too long. A good portion of the film is spent watching Phoenix walk back and forth between a window and a wall for reasons that remain rather opaque. Yes, it's that kind of movie.
I didn't care at all about Phoenix's character or Hoffman's, and despite the rave reviews, I think neither actor brought their A-game to this one. Their characters were one dimensional, unsympathetic, and unrelatable. They didn't feel like real people. They don't really change much over the course of the movie.
What irked me most, though, was that the movie really didn't have anything to say. It had no real insights into anything. It didn't make me think or challenge my mind in any way.
When a movie fails to make me think or feel, as this one did, I can't help but regret spending money on it.
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