When I watch a movie, I generally hope for something that I find fun, something I find interesting, or something that I feel teaches. Unfortunately for me, this movie didn’t score well in any of these three categories. The internet makes it clear that many out there appreciate this film more than I do, so I feel a bit like I’ve seen (or not managed to see) the emperor’s new clothes. This is my first Paul Thomas Anderson experience, so I can’t compare it with his previous work. I give a thumbs-up for set design, staging, and cinematography in establishing a stylized 70s world. The acting was fine. However, I did not develop a significant connection with the characters and their experiences. I didn’t much care what happened to them and I didn’t think the movie was very funny, though I heard laughter in the crowd. Much of the plot was lost upon me, in part because in the beginning, there was much chat about characters I didn’t yet know and in part because I nodded off a few times. (DISCLOSURE: Although it was a midnight screening, if the film had engaged me, I don’t think I’d have napped.) Though many will enjoy this movie, I don’t know how you’d determine whether or not you’re likely to be in that group. My best guess is that you’ll like this if you tend to be a P.T. Anderson fan.

by Jonathan of



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