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.
Barry Egan hates himself and hates his life. The only male among eight siblings, Barry is treated poorly by his overbearing sisters. Despite owning his own business, he has gotten nowhere in life largely because of his insecurities. He leads a solitary life, which allows him to hide his violent outbursts that occur when he's frustrated. His solitude however allows him to think, he stumbling upon a scheme to travel the world on a pittance, travel which he has never done. Concurrently, he meets two people who pull him in two different directions. The first is Lena Leonard, a friend of his sister Elizabeth. Barry is slow to realize that Lena is attracted to him, he making her make all the first moves. Lena is eventually able to get Barry out of his shell, she who sticks around despite his obvious problems. His burgeoning relationship and thus new life with Lena is threatened by the second, "Georgia", who he contacted in an effort to alleviate his loneliness. Georgia and her "band of ...Written by
After the brothers smash into Barry's car and it stops spinning, blood trickles from Lena's scalp and onto her cheek. When Barry returns to the car after beating up the brothers, there is no blood on Lena's face. See more »
Yes, I'm still on hold.
And what was this?
I'm looking at your advertisement for the airline promotion and giveaway.
Ah, the 10 for 1 mile plan...
Yeah, it's hard to understand, because it says "in addition to". But I can't exactly understand in addition to what? Because there's actually nothing to add to.
I think that's a typo then.h
Okay, so just to clarify - I'm sorry - 10 purchases of any of your healthy choice products equals 500 miles, and with the coupon, the same purchase ...
[...] See more »
Egan's six sisters are credited collectively as "The Sisters." The four brothers who pursue and assault him are credited collectively as "The Brothers." See more »
I should point out that the summary above is not exactly "glowing" praise.
PTA strikes me as both overly intellectual AND insufficiently challenging to be called a great artist or a brilliant filmmaker, but I confess that this film does a terrific job of highlighting the director's strengths. (He is pretty young, after all.)
What PTA really seems to bring to his work is a sense of "compassion for the pathetic." While Boogie Nights was a feel-good hack-job in which it is difficult to care about ANY of the morons he depicts, and Magnolia was an overdrawn "angst" film in which the most natural response is to despise the characters, Punch Drunk Love did a reasonable job of making Barry Egan into a "real" person. He is pathetic, lovable, and unfulfilled through no fault of his own.
I definitely got the impression that a good bit of the film was occupied by filler. The harmonium's introduction adds nothing, the color blocks are not presented in any coherent way, and the brief conversion of Egan into a superhero seems to be severely out of place.
This is a completely allegorical and poetic picture. The meaning of the film is very uplifting. Despite the numerous failures and flaws of our protagonist, there is a glimmer of hope that he might somehow find happiness--in fact, perhaps the entire story is about the first successful dating experience PTA had.
Generally speaking, I'd rank Hard Eight above this one, but given that PTA lacked a great deal of directorial control over that film, I'd call this the best job that he personally has pulled off so far.
More than anything, I appreciated the technical approach. The fact that almost every "rule" of cinematography and/or editing is broken repeatedly in this picture makes it pretty clear that it is not to be taken too literally.
More filmmakers should jump at the chance to break the rules when it truly contributes to the structure and meaning of their work--I'd rather see the back of Sandler's head and non-literal interpretations of physical space in this kind of film than see a sterile and clinical "presentation" of the events depicted.
7 out of 10.
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