Punch-Drunk Love

November 1st, 2002


Punch-Drunk Love

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Still of Adam Sandler and Emily Watson in Punch-Drunk LoveStill of Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk LoveAdam Sandler at event of Punch-Drunk LoveStill of Adam Sandler and Emily Watson in Punch-Drunk LoveStill of Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk LoveStill of Emily Watson in Punch-Drunk Love

A beleaguered small-business owner gets a harmonium and embarks on a romantic journey with a mysterious woman.

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 7.4/10 (60,080 voted)

Critic's Score: 78/100

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Barry Egan is a small business owner with seven sisters whose abuse has kept him alone and unable to fall in love. When a harmonium and a mysterious woman enter his life, his romantic journey begins.

Adam Sandler - Barry Egan
Jason Andrews - Operator Carter (voice)
Don McManus - Plastic (voice)
Emily Watson - Lena Leonard
Luis Guzmán - Lance
David Schrempf - Customer #1
Seann Conway - Customer #2
Rico Bueno - Rico
Hazel Mailloux - Rhonda
Karen Kilgariff - Anna (voice)
Julie Hermelin - Kathleen
Salvador Curiel - Sal
Jorge Barahona - Jorge
Ernesto Quintero - Ernesto
Julius Steuer - Mechanic

Release Date: 1 November 2002

Filming Locations: Claremont, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $367,203 (USA) (13 October 2002) (5 Screens)

Gross: $24,665,649 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Paul Thomas Anderson first announced that his follow-up to Magnolia would be an Adam Sandler comedy at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival. The news was greeted with laughter by the assembled press. When "Punch-Drunk Love" eventually played at Cannes, Anderson won the Best Director Palm d'Or.

Crew or equipment visible: While Barry is running away from the brothers from Utah, a shadow of the cameraman is visible on the street.

[first lines]
Barry: Yes, I'm still on hold.
Phone Rep: And what was this?
Barry: I'm looking at your advertisement for the airline promotion and giveaway.
Phone Rep: Ah, the 10 for 1 mile plan...
Barry: 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.
Phone Rep: I think that's a typo then.h
Barry: 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 would value 1000 miles?
Phone Rep: That's it.
Barry: Well, do you realize that the monetary value of this promotion and the prizes is potentially worth more than the purchases?

User Review

Wow, I never *felt* a movie before


One of my old English teachers once asked us about a book, "Did you all like the book? I'm not asking whether you enjoyed it; I don't care. I want to know if you liked it." She was making an important distinction.

I remembered that as I watched Punch-Drunk Love. It's very unusual. The film is set in L.A., but you don't see much scenery indicating that. You see unpleasant things. Adam Sandler's office is long and empty: just seeing him sitting at his desk assaults you with a feeling of loneliness (not because of any sappy music--but because of the set and the camera work). He walks out into a never-ending warehouse; it feels empty, brutal. He exits the warehouse and you see another unending sight: the row of garage-like doors of all the other warehouses. It feels like it lasts forever, this row of doors, and when Adam gets to the end of it, he looks out onto a long, straight, industrial, empty street. It looks HORRIBLE, but why? Nothing is happening on the street, there are no gruesome sights, no particular signs of squalor or anything, and yet you feel repulsed, hopeless, alone. Then, out of the distance, a car whizzes by, nothing unusual, but it feels abrasive. With no relation at all to the plot, just as it appears, this car hits something and explodes, its remains slide off into the distance and you see nothing more of it. It's trivial. But you feel like the movie is being hostile toward YOU, the viewer.

Yes, that's the best way I can put it: you feel like the movie is being hostile toward YOU. A few minutes later, a truck flies by, again very abrasively, and drops a harmonium in front of Adam Sandler. There is no rhyme or reason to this, it just happens, and it's all very unpleasant.

About a third of the way through the video, my phone rang. I told my friend what I was watching, and she asked how it was. I told her, "I can't decide. I'm not sure I like it." I kept watching. At the end, I understood. What I had meant to tell my friend was that I wasn't enjoying it. And I wasn't meant to.

The film starts out with a very bad point in Adam Sandler's life. He is neurotic, you want to kill his sisters even though they're not malicious per se, he is lonely, his life is unpleasant. This movie is trying to do more than TELL you it's unpleasant, and even more than SHOW you it's unpleasant: the movie is trying to get inside you and make you FEEL it. You seriously feel the abrasiveness of every image, every sound, every character; you feel accosted by it. When there's silence, it's brutal silence. When there are sounds, they're brutal sounds. Images and movements are abrasive. Until Adam's life begins to flourish: then you get pretty sounds, pretty colors--as the viewer, you're let off the hook, too.

So when it was over, I was in amazement. How many movies succeed at this, at taking you WITH them to the discomfort the character is living? The cinematography, the sound work, the script--none of it is any accident. When his life isn't going well, you FEEL it. Did I like the movie? Very much. And if you appreciate a very unusual take on an old topic, you will too.


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