Hard Eight

Hard Eight ★★★★★

Having now seen every single one of his feature films with the exception of Licorice Pizza, I think I can reliably say that I'm a Paul Thomas Anderson fanboygirl. Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, and of course Philip Seymour Hoffman all put in some absolutely incredible performances. There's so much to love here: the photography and how the camera can glide around, the texture of each scene that you can hear and feel, the pacing of plot beats and revelations at exactly the right moments that slot into this digestible but nuanced narrative: little bursts of intensity in this film when its default nature is relatively reserved are placed at the exact intervals they should be. There is something here about the inability to really erase our hidden, "offscreen" mistakes, the way we are compelled to continually reckon with out pasts and the imperfect ways we try to rectify them. It's still so incredible he was this good coming out of the gate.

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