The main theme of “punch-drunk love” film is “love". Theplot of the film unfolds with scenes of characters either longing tobe love, looking for love, chasing love and finally enjoying thecomfort of true at the conclusion of the movie. The longing for loveis portrayed by the main character, Barry, who was a singlebusinessman. Barry grew up with his siblings, sisters, who werealways mean to Barry. Out of longing for belonging and compassion,Barry turned to phone-sex to satisfy his desires. However, the entireplan did not workout well for him as the phone-sex company startedexploiting Barry by extorting money from him under the threat ofblackmail (Anderson 47). At some point, Barry meets a beautiful lady,Lena, and he falls in love with her. He used his sisters to get tothe love of his life and exploited his business connections to travelto wherever the lady went. He disclosed his former behavior andrelationship with the phone-sex company to his lover who turned outto be very understanding and compassionate. As the film winds up,Barry and his lover seem to take a vow to be together forever. Thefilm tends to make a statement that true love, once obtained, canlast forever. It does not really matter who initiates the spark oflove, but once nurtured with honesty and understanding love canovercome all challenges. Lena said to Barry “So, here we go."That was the commencement of a journey of life covered withlove.There are several of elements that are evidenced in thefilm, which are keenly tailored to contribute towards the theme ofthe movie. These elements include narrative, cinematography, andsound. Narrative describes the storyline of the film that wasdeveloped by the director of the film. As it was indicated in theprevious section, the movie involves a story of a young man, Barry,who was looking for love and compassionate (Anderson 67). Although itwas difficult for Barry to get the love he wanted in the initialscenes of the film, things worked out for him, and the movie endswith a promise of living happily ever after. As the story of the filmunfolds right at the beginning, it becomes easy for the audience toconnect with the characters based on the intended message (Anderson88). Despite the fact that narrative analysis is largely subjective,it gives first-hand impression of expectations from the film.Withregard to cinematography, there are various images in the movie thatwere filmed in a particular style as to demonstrate love. Forinstance, when Barry received the harmonium, the scene symbolizes theeventual love that he received from Lena. Another scene that portraythe aspects of cinematography and filming is the picture of Barry andLena sitting with a Hawaiian background. Hawaii is a romanticdestination where lovers go for fun and happiness (Anderson 114). Thepictures contrast the previous loneliness that Barry had to endurebefore he met Lena.With regard to sound, the movie utilizedvarious sounds that facilitated an easy connection between thepictures, scenes and background with love. More importantly, the useof music sound wrapped around the entire theme of love, especially“he needs me” song that was played extensively in the movie. Thesong rhymed well with the story of the film as events unfoldedleading to a firm union between Barry and Lena.The otherelements that had an influence on the theme include mise-en-scene andediting. On mise-en-scene, the paper will take keen focus on costumesand lighting (Anderson 93). Although Barry got an everlasting love,there were bright flares of light that came to his face as hepeacefully played the harmonium. The bright light interrupted hiscomfort, and this represented the four blonde brothers who were sentby the phone-sex company to extort money from Barry. Finding love didnot mean that Barry’s past was just going to varnish, but he had todeal with the personal challenges that disrupted his happyrelationship with Lena. Another vital point to with regard tomise-en-scene is the costumes (Anderson 212). While Lena keptchanging her costumes from one beautiful dress to the next, Barrymaintained a blue suit in the entire film, which was closelyconnected to the theme of love.Last but not least, editing isthe final element that was keenly employed in the entire movie tostrengthen the theme of love. It is evident that the final movie thatwas shown was a product of fine and rational editing of the differentscenes from different cameras (Anderson 77). Different cameras arevital in filmmaking, especially when it comes to combining sceneswhere the audience can clearly see the reaction of differentcharacters to the words of deeds of the other character in themovie.The plot structure of the movie is chronological. Theevents in the story flow in a chronological manner as things escalatefrom a desperate, single and lonely man to a character who finallyfinds love. The events in this film follow each other in an orderlysequence thus making it easy to follow. There were no obvious casesof flashbacks that are evidenced in the entire movie.Thequality of the performance as it was depicted in the punch-drunkmovie is exceptional. The situation was intensified by continuityediting that was employed in several shots (Anderson 112). Forinstance, a short where Barry had tried paying of the goons to leavehim alone, one of the goons gave Barry a heavy smack in the face.Diegetic sound was the major technique that was employed in thescene as the subjective camera fell to the ground after taking asideways dive (Anderson 111). Barry was shown noting the registrationnumber of the vehicle that belonged to the goons as they drove off.There is also a counter shot that reveals the reaction of Barryfollowing the assault, and this continued until Barry disappearedinto the darkness.Paul Thomas Anderson is a seasoned moviedirector who is fond of producing serious love movies and comedies.At first his style tended to contrast sharply with his choice of themain character who is mainly known for non-serious movie shows.However, the scene of Barry dedicating his entire energy to pursuingLena’s love reaffirmed Anderson’s style and delivery of hismessage in the film (Anderson 47). Further, the director designed thefilm in such a manner that it ended with a minimum suspense thusmaking it somehow conclusive to the audience. Notably, the directorused the scene of goons attacking Barry to extort money from himafter he did quit phone sex to portray the challenges that lifepresents to individuals, well in the expectations of theaudience.The most striking thing that is admirable in the movieis the choice of costumes, color and characters. The combination ofthe three aspects linked the movie with great movies in the past, aswell as great songs that reaffirmed and added weight to the key themeof the movie, which is love.
Anderson, Paul T. Punch-drunk Love: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson:Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman: the Shooting Script. London:Faber, 2003. Print.