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‘An account of how insane we once were’ – Paul Thomas Anderson on There Will Be Blood | Paul Thomas Anderson

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Do you think it’s the best film of the century so far?
Who am I to argue? I’ll take it. It’s bragging rights for sure and I don’t take it lightly. But, of course, I could rattle off a long list of great films from this century … that isn’t hard to do.

Is there a competition in you to care about such things?
I suppose if it was second-best film of the century my first question would have been, “What’s No 1?” It’s very possible by the end of this year it could slip off the list entirely.

Is it the same film you would make today? Do you rewatch it?
I haven’t seen it in a number of years, but last I saw it I was very proud and satisfied. It was the first time I’d seen it where I had forgotten exactly what was going to happen next – and that was a wonderful experience. Having made something, it’s very hard to get back to that sense of discovery. Everything really seems to fit together about it – the performances, the music, the landscape and the story, all the strands within the larger film, especially the theme of father and son – all work in unison. It’s also very robust, which I like. I know, as I think we all do, that what makes it really great is Daniel Day-Lewis.

Which moment or line makes you laugh most?
Everything Daniel does makes me giggle with pleasure and joy. His inventiveness, his devilishness, the joy he has in making such a maniacal portrait of a man unhinged. He has a great chemistry with Paul Dano.

Do you place more faith in capitalism or religion?
Well … I’m kind of equal opportunity confused and rooting for the best sides of both.

Do you get sick of the milkshake memes?
Nah. Too much is never enough.

Do you think the film feels like a yet more urgent prophecy today? Of bleeding the Earth dry, of allowing greed to triumph over human relations?
Unfortunately, this story doesn’t seem to be going out of style any time soon. It would be nice to see it as science fiction one day. Or an account of how truly insane we all once were.

Donald Trump recently declined to quote any Bible verse he likes. Are there any the film refers to you think may speak to him specifically? Might The Art of the Deal make for an alternative title to There Will Be Blood?
I like all the quotes in the Bible, Old and New Testament, and y’know, it’s very private, I’m not gonna get into it … [WEARY FACE EMOJI] I can’t quote the Bible from off the top of my head, I have to go rummage around like everyone else. Or, as Plainview says: “I like all religions. I like them all. I don’t belong to one church in particular.”

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Aisha Dee Announced "The Bold Type" Season 5 In The Most Fitting Fashion

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Tiny Jane and the gang.


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Variety’s apology to Carey Mulligan shows the film critic’s ivory tower is toppling | Film criticism

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Until relatively recently, an apology in the arts review columns of any publication was vanishingly rare, if not non-existent. If crow had to be eaten, it would be the end result of some unprecedented legal action in which defendant and plaintiff had grimly established – through a poker-game exchange of solicitor’s letters – what the likely outcome would be in court.

Not any more. In 2018 the New York Times’s then drama critic Ben Brantley issued an apology after being accused of transphobia for a quip about the Broadway musical Head Over Heels. He had affected a satirical confusion about its star, the trans performer Peppermint whose character identified as non-binary.

Now Variety – a magazine with a first-class roster of film critics – has felt the need to apologise for its review of the Carey Mulligan movie Promising Young Woman, in which the reviewer Dennis Harvey said that he thought Mulligan had been miscast. Harvey wrote that “though a fine actress”, Mulligan was “an odd choice” and appeared to be in “bad drag”. He said the film’s producer Margot Robbie may have been better in such a confrontationally sexual role.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman
Final straw … Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. Photograph: Courtesy of Focus Features/AP

The review was published in January 2020, but after Mulligan attacked it in an interview, Variety has done something that can only be described as having your humble pie and eating it. They have run an apology: “Variety sincerely apologises to Carey Mulligan and regrets the insensitive language and insinuation in our review … that minimized her daring performance.” But they’re still running the review below, with the supposedly offensive passage quite intact.

That is very feeble of them. And in the immortal words of Christopher Hitchens: “Apologies are a bore. What we want is an explanation.” Maybe Mulligan was particularly angry about this review because it appeared in a magazine considered to be the industry bible, vital in awards seasons, and so a review is closer to a school’s Ofsted report than the subjective piece it might be in other publications. And as the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin suggests, it could well be that Variety’s sheepish half-climbdown is due to a cringing fear of the all-powerful studio and talent PRs, ferociously threatening to close down access to the stars in their stable.

But that is not the point. There are legions of women commenting on social media today to say that – guess what – they too are bored, in the withering Hitchens sense, with Variety’s timid semi-apology and what they want is a broader and more diverse range of critical opinions and more women’s voices coming through. And something else too: they will want critical freedom and publications with the intellectual courage to back them up.

For what this is worth, I disagree sharply with Harvey about Mulligan being miscast. She doesn’t just do “English rose” personae. This is a performance to compare more with her brilliantly challenging and transgressive role in Steve McQueen’s Shame. But critics are allowed to have opinions, however disagreeable, and even make remarks about an actor’s image up there on the screen – as long as they are offered in good critical faith, which I think the Variety review was. Mulligan is entitled to her opinion as well, and critics are not immune from criticism.


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Here's Everything We Know About Demi Lovato's New Show, "Hungry"

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I hope there’s singing.


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