Paul Thomas Anderson is an auteur who seems hell-bent on making boring, pointless movies. Just as with There Will Be Blood, this is a great work of craft -- incredible acting and great directing. But also, as with There Will Be Blood, it did nothing for me. I kept wondering why the movie existed. This wasn't a particularly interesting story, the script was nothing special, and there is a overwrought symbolism that confuses the point of the movie more than it clarifies it. Is this really nothing more than story of Freudian longing? Or a look at Scientology?
The real reason to watch this movie is Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Both of them take characters that could be cartoonish and give them a depth which is well beyond what the script has cause for.
Maybe Paul Thomas Anderson will get back to making films like his earlier career. I can only hope that we'll see another Boogie Nights out of him. I'd even settle for a Magnolia.