Chaos lurks in every corner of this giddily off-kilter romantic comedy by Paul Thomas Anderson. Struggling to cope with his erratic temper, novelty-toilet-plunger salesman Barry Egan (Adam Sandler, in his first dramatic role) spends his days collecting coupons and dodging the insults of his seven sisters. The promise of a new life emerges when Barry inadvertently attracts the affection of a mysterious woman named Lena (Emily Watson), but their budding relationship is threatened when he falls prey to the swindling operator of a phone sex line and her deranged boss (played with maniacal brio by Philip Seymour Hoffman). Fueled by a baroque-futurist score by Jon Brion, the Cannes-award-winning PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE channels the spirit of classic Hollywood and the whimsy of Jacques Tati into an idiosyncratic ode to the delirium of new romance.
Part of our Love Stinks film series.
“Though it was critically acclaimed and served as a vindication of Sandler’s dramatic chops, it failed to make back its budget at the box office. Time has been kind to Punch-Drunk Love, with plenty of filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro and Bong Joon-ho saying that it’s one of their favorite films. And it’s a great representation of how love can come into your life when you least expect it — as well as an example of how love can better one’s life.” Collier Jennings, Collider
“Punch-Drunk Love is above all a portrait of a personality type. Barry Egan has been damaged, perhaps beyond repair… The film is exhilarating to watch because Sandler, liberated from the constraints of [predictable comedy] formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor. Watching this film, you can imagine him in Dennis Hopper roles. He has darkness, obsession and power. His world is hedged around with mystery and challenge.” Roger Ebert