Punch-Drunk Love

”I have a love in my life and it makes me stronger than you could ever imagine.”

Upon rewatch, I’ve come to the realization that this is one of my favorite films ever made.

PTA’s films serve as immense inspirations for me, especially his earlier works, which are all so punchy, vibrant, creative, and stylistic, while also being some of the most emotionally impactful works of art that I’ve seen, and I’m so glad this film has been re-evaluated by others as just another masterwork in PTA’s line-up, because I think it’s one of the most transporting character studies I’ve ever come across.

Barry Egan is a person that desperately wants to get help and to become a better person, but as he says, he doesn’t really know what people are really like, because his sisters have essentially made him petrified of social interaction. If you don’t know what “good” looks like, how can you try to achieve it?

This is a film of self discovery where Barry’s tendencies to try and find long lasting satisfaction in his temporal solutions to the problems that continue to plague him are slowly replaced with long lasting, more healthy ones. One of my favorite examples of this is how his mini piano serves as a tool of comfort, so when he runs back to Lena’s apartment after having left her at the hospital alone, and believing things could go sour between them, he carries the piano with him the whole way to subconsciously comfort himself.

There are so many little moments of sheer magic throughout this whole movie, from its magnetic craft, to its moments of sheer, unadulterated humanity. It’s an extremely relatable and personal film for me, and it’s one that I will most surely be coming back to time and time again. For me, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.

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