Punch Drunk Love Analysis

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A common reoccurrence in romantic comedies is the factor of love being whimsically portrayed as something divine, predestined and magical. The omniscient state of love in the typical romantic comedy positions love as the driving force with godlike authority over the film and the love between the two central characters is within a concept of a divine plan, fitting in with the romantic concepts in which the romance genre is founded. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) uses absurdism to flip all of this on its head, taking the romanticism out of the romantic comedy and replacing it with the truth of the absurdity in life and using love as a personal resolution to create meaning for the sake of one’s own happiness and fulfillment. The elements of absurdist…show more content…
The average viewer is able to clearly see how this film fits into the romantic comedy genre with the themes of romantic and love playing a key thematic role. Furthermore, the existence and portrayal of the archetypal meet-cute situation between Barry and his love interest, Lena Leonard (Emily Watson), serves as further representation of the film’s roots in romantic comedy. Absurdist fiction as a genre is far less developed than romantic comedy and not everyone knows when they are seeing it. There is also a great deal of range to what can be done with absurdist fiction as it can be grounded in reality like Punch-Drunk Love is or it can follow a storyline that is more fantastical and unorthodox such as, Being John Malkovich (1999). The overarching concept that ties absurdist fiction together as a genre is its thematic basis in philosophical absurdism. Because the average moviegoer is not likely to have an understanding of the philosophy behind absurdist fiction, the genre itself is likely to mostly remain obscure. To say, “The crucial factors that distinguish a genre are not only characteristics inherent in the films themselves; they also depend on the particular culture within which we are operating” means that for Punch-Drunk Love, as well as many other absurdist fictions to be acknowledged as within an encompassing genre, the bulk of the consuming public must be aware of the concepts that drive writers to create narratives around the philosophy
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