02 September 2009

Paul Thomas Anderson and Love

Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will be Blood, Magnolia + Punch Drunk Love, in hindsight.

In Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love William H. Macy and Adam Sandler's characters, Donnie Smith and Barry Egan respectively, in a couple of moments of high stress express an overwhelming sensation they interpret as LOVE. If PTA's aesthetic in these two films has something to do with creating the conditions for these straightforward, untrammelled "I have love inside me" outbursts - putting Macy/ Smith's and Sandler/ Egan's straightforward, society-tramelled (the blurb for PDL suggestively describes Barry Egan as 'society-impaired') characters in such circumstances that LOVE is, as it were, squeezed out of them - and they shout LOVE at their adversaries - then where does There Will Be Blood fit into this?

The deafening (making deaf..) of Daniel Day Lewis's (Daniel Plainview's) adopted son effectively mutes the father, and disables any such vocalization. This, it might be said, locks Plainview into the spiral of hate that is the film's shape. The son's capacity to redeem is negated, no matter how vociferously Paul Dano's Eli Sunday offers Jesus Christ as a proxy love-recipient. Plainview sups at the earth's oily arteries, but it won't sate what being able to say "I love you" would...

Here is Emily Watson talking about how it's hard to play being "full of love"

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