The best scene in the film comes about 1/3 the way through, with the "processing" scene between Hoffman and Phoenix. From there it just continues along a repetitive line of the two of them bonding and then breaking apart and then coming back together and then...
I spent a lot of the film wondering why Hoffman was bothering with Phoenix.
It's a film without a real point. Or Anderson doesn't know how to communicate what his point is.
The biggest problem is Phoenix, whose exaggerated performance is a Method nightmare on screen. His character is so near-freakish that it's impossible to give a shit about him. Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern (on screen much too briefly) at least seem like recognizable human beings.
It was fascinating, but left me cold.
Phoenix I thought was especially good - Oscar bait. And glad to see he finally got his harelip fixed.
Fucking horrible film. As was There Will Be Blood. And Punch Drunk Love.
Paul Thomas Anderson shot his entire creative wad on Boogie Nights and has made nothing but steaming-piles-of-dog-shit movies ever since.
God help me this was such a bad movie.
[quote]Have no idea why it's getting such good reviews.
Because every year there's one movie th e critic's cream over and never delivers, "Little Miss Sunshine", "Juno","A Serious Man", "The Social Network","Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close".
What did you think about the son-in-law, OP. Hubba hubba, right?
Worst movie I've seen in a loooong time. I have never seen a more bored audience! The most entertaining part was the person in the row behind me who kept passing gas.
Great performances by all the actors in an extraordinarily terrible film.
[quote]Paul Thomas Anderson shot his entire creative wad on Boogie Nights and has made nothing but steaming-piles-of-dog-shit movies ever since.
Boogie Nights is a near masterpiece and Julianne Moore was robbed of an Oscar, seriously. Magnolia is also an incredible film.
I thought it was terrible, and I loved "Boogie Nights", "Magnolia", and "Hard Eight". Good performances from Hoffman, Adams, and Dern though (I thought Phoenix was too broad, other than the processing scene).
I couldn't believe the pretentious reviews it got: "brilliant, I need to see it again to take it all in", blah blah blah. Hope it doesn't get undeserved Oscar nods due to the critical response...
I watched this last night on Showtime. I was really looking forward to seeing this but I found the movie profoundly depressing and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because Phoenix has aged so badly and he seems to be as mentally unstable as the character he plays. The only character that I "got" was Peggy Dodd the pregnant wife played by Adams. I didn't find the theories about reincarnation and the past life regressions all that kooky or out there. Was Freddie Quell Lancaster Dodd's alter ego? Did Quell imagine it all in the throes of Delirium Tremens? It's a movie that requires seeing more than one viewing. He's quite crafty, that Paul Thomas Anderson.
It was do boring and forgettable, I can barely remember it a year later.
A movie and a bunch of very good performances in search of an idea and a script.
I didn't like this movie at all. Phoenix's doesn't act in this. He "acts".
It is visually stunning. But I agree with OP, as empty as it is showy.