The Criterion Collection: PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE Review

Posted on Nov 21 2016 - 10:00am by Lewis Stephenson


Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Running Time: 95 minutes

Rating: 15

When Paul Thomas Anderson announced he was making a romantic comedy with Adam Sandler at the Cannes Film Festival many sneered, yet when the result of that collaboration, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, eventually played at the festival the director won the Best Director Palm d’Or and Sandler earned himself a Golden Globe nomination. The film has since received the label as an ‘arthouse Adam Sandler film’ and he is fantastic in it.

The character of Barry has Sandler harness an anger that he’s shown before but he must now channel in a non-comedic manner, something he really rises to. Couple that with the loneliness that PTA’s script conveys in Barry and the film has a central character we can all identify with, especially when Philip Syemour Hoffman’s mattress man is introduced to proceedings and becomes the opposition for Barry, representing the last time he ever lets himself be taken advantage of.

Watson is delightful in the film, along with Sandler the two have an instant chemistry that Anderson whirls with an old-fashioned romance story that you cannot fail to find yourself caught in. It’s the directors shortest film to date but he doesn’t let that stop him, he imbues every frame with a colour and life, a tactic that only heightens the romance of the entire film, yet leaves enough chances to inject his own style on the film (the pudding).

After PTA took cinema by storm with BOOGIE NIGHTS and MAGNOLIA, he surprised them with PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. He, of course, went on to make THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE MATSER and most recently INHERENT VICE but PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is his most accessible film for audiences because it deals with emotions we can all relate to. It’s driving narrative of a man wanting to find love is endearing and in Sandler the film has a genius piece casting that you utterly fall for.


Director approved Special Edition Features

– Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Paul Thomas Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD
– Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
– Blossoms & Blood, a short 2002 piece by Anderson featuring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, along with music by Jon Brion
– New interview with Brion
– New piece featuring behind-the-scenes footage of a recording session for the film’s soundtrack
– New conversation between curators Michael Connor and Lia Gangitano about the art of Jeremy Blake, used in the film
– Additional artwork by Blake
– Cannes Film Festival press conference from 2002
– NBC News interview from 2000 with David Phillips, the “pudding guy”
– Twelve Scopitones
– Deleted scenes
– Mattress Man commercial
– Trailers

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is released by the Criterion Collection in the UK on November 21st.

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