Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Anderson’s Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson
I was watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s marvelous The Master the other night when I was hit with the sudden realization of a common thread running through all of Anderson’s great films of the last three decades. (Be forewarned: I don’t consider Punch Drunk Love one of his great films.) What all these films have in common is a different look at the father-son relationship, often disguised in his films as the mentor-protégé relationship. Consider the evidence: the relationships between Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in Boogie Nights; Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) and Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise) in Magnolia; Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) in There Will Be Blood; and, of course, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) in The Master. I’m not going to psychoanalyze it, just mention it.

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