‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘The Master’ & ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ Trilogy: Theory on the Films of PTA [VIDEO]

Published 2 years ago by

The cinematic works of Paul Thomas Anderson have enjoyed critical acclaim – including 11 Oscar nominations and 2 wins – but they can be a bit perplexing for the average moviegoer. This is especially true for PTA’s 21st century films - Punch-Drunk Love (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Master (2012).

The first is the story of an eccentric modern-day man (Adam Sandler) who, despite many internal and external obstacles, meets the right girl; the second is the story of a man at the dawn of the 20th century (Daniel Day-Lewis), driven to spiritual ruin by his own ambition; the third is the story of a post-WWII vet (Joaquin Phoenix), who struggles (and ultimately fails) to tame his own savage impulses. To the naked eye, the three films have very little in common – but in a new video analysis, one PTA fan argues that all three films form a complete thematic trilogy, centered on man’s spiritual evolution as it relates to the search for love and connection.

Presented by “Foleyd87,” the video makes some pretty sound and insightful points – including the viewing order (TWBBTMPDL). The overarching argument is basically that the three films chronicle man’s search for love and connection, with the first two films examining the ultimate pain and devastation of failing to find said love and connection – with the final chapter, Punch-Drunk Love, ending with its protagonist Barry Egan finally overcoming the pattern of rage and mania by settling into a meaningful relationship with the “right” woman.


Paul Thomas Anderson Trilogy There Will Be Blood The Master Punch Drunk Love 570x299 There Will Be Blood, The Master & Punch Drunk Love Trilogy: Theory on the Films of PTA  [VIDEO]

Of course, the video manages to go into much greater detail about has this overarching thematic narrative is represented in each respective film – from specific connecting shots between the works, to the harmonic musical cues that link them together. Most interesting, however, is the argument about Anderson’s use of female characters in each film – and observances like, for instance, how the lack of female characters in There Will Be Blood helps explain Daniel Plainview’s decrepit state at the end of the film.

My personal favorite: how Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s cryptic words about meeting in another life (in The Master) directly connect to the role he had nearly a decade earlier in Punch-Drunk Love. (Wacky?)(Brilliant?) stuff.

If you, or anyone you know has been adversely affected from viewing a PTA film (I’m still taking grief from friends and relatives about my glowing review of The Master), then maybe this video will help you get some perspective. At the very least,  it’ll probably spark a small uptick in PTA movie rentals. Never bad for business.

Of course, creative works are always about more than just one theme or interpretation. Do you like the theory the video presents, or do you have your own to share? Let us know in the comments.


Source: Foleyd87

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: The master
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  1. Wow! The phenomenal Daniel Day-Lewis! The spectacular Joaquin Phoenix! AND … wait … Adam Sandler?

  2. There Will Be Blood is quite possibly the best movie I’ve ever seen… it’s certainly my favorite by PTA.

    • I feel the exact same way. I have seen thousands of movies and I can not think of one better.

  3. Well, I know what three movies I’ll be watching this weekend

  4. This is quite intriguing, I never would of assumed there was a connection at all. I thank you guy’s for posting this article, it’s rather insightful. Another connection I realize is, the antagonist are implied homosexuals in There will be Blood(Paul) and The Master(Dodd). I never saw Punch Drunk Love so does anyone know if that is also the case. PTA is a genius, so underrated it’s asinine.

    • Jay: Good noticing! You may have discovered this by now, since this thread looks to be 5 months old, but Barry, the protagonist (not the antagonist in this case) absolutely has his sexuality questioned several times in Punch Drunk Love. His sisters recall taunting him as a kid (“remember? we used to call you gay and you’d get so mad!”) which leads to a repeated violent outburst in his present. He is asked if he is gay by the sex worker that he calls. I am pretty sure he also gets called a “faggot” by Hoffman’s antagonist, the sex worker’s employer. Interesting connection!

      So then the question is: was PTA aware he was making a trilogy? Was it out of order on purpose? Or was it conceived of as the later films were written and produced? Or is this just a glorious discovery by viewers of synchronicity, hinted at by the opening stories in Magnolia?!

      Punch Drunk Love is by far my favorite of this trilogy, and I’ve watched it over and over. This analysis is making me appreciate The Master and There Will Be Blood way more.

  5. punch drunk love is the best of the three in my opinion which is worse than boogie nights (IMO). I found There will be blood and the master to lack substance and get very boring very quickly. Not that the performances weren’t phenomenal cause they are.

  6. I’ll be watching all 3 of these movies again soon but I’ll have to gap them out over maybe a week because I don’t think I can emotionally handle watching them back to back. ;)
    It’s been a while since I’ve seen Punch Drunk Love so I may have to watch it twice to let it really soak in but I’m always game to watch There Will Be Blood again. I still stand by my opinion that Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in that movie is the greatest I’ve ever seen.
    Thanks for posting this Kofi.
    I can get sucked into film analysis videos on YouTube for hours on end. Especially those about Kubrick films (not the wacky conspiracy theories though) PTA films and even the few about David Fincher’s films.

  7. Well, I’ll give The Master another viewing, but I just didn’t feel it was anything special like his previous films. I almost feel like his fans are so passionate about his movies that they don’t want to admit he may have come up a bit short on one. Unless there are a lot things I missed, I just can’t recommend The Master.

  8. Wasnt a PTA fan until i saw The Master. Loved it. Still yet to see Punch Drunk Love

  9. Punch Drunk is the best, Blood was good but the master was very very blah. Like i wish i didnt rent it blah

  10. The best filmmaker in America. Love all 3 films.

  11. There Will Be Blood is from my point of view still one of the best movies ever made. Great story!