Punch-Drunk Love Easter Egg - The Hand Says It All

Paul Thomas Anderson's films always seem to have an egg in them, and his latest is no different. The egg occurs about 40 minutes into the film. (Warning: This description is going to sound really weird if you haven't seen the movie.) It's during the scene when Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) has just gotten off the phone with a Healthy Choice representative, who has told him that the frequent flier miles he wants to redeem from a Healthy Choice promotional gimmick will take 6-8 weeks to process - not immediately, as he had hoped. He is, of course, heartbroken and absolutely furious, and in his anger, he punches the map on the wall of his office. When he turns back toward the camera and places his now-bruised hand on the harmonium on his desk, check out his knuckles: the bruises clearly spell "LOVE." This makes sense because he was collecting the frequent flier miles to fly to Hawaii with his new girlfriend Lena (Emily Watson). And also consider that the original title for the film was "Punch-Drunk Knuckle Love" - Anderson must have changed the title for a reason, maybe to disguise the egg. (I don't think it's an homage to Robert Mitchum in "Night of the Hunter.")

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Contributed By: naregt on 11-04-2002
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Jessica writes:
Thanks for clarifying that egg. I saw the movie earlier tonight, and I thought there was a message on Barry's knuckles after he went hay-wire and punched the wall, but then I figured I was just seeing things. Guess I'm not as crazy as I thought . . .
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Ked writes:
I believe the homage/reference you're thinking of (or perhaps in addition to yours) is Robert Mitchum in the original "Cape Fear," where he has "love" and "hate" tattooed on his fingers.
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naregt writes:
In response to Ked's comment, I know for sure that the "LOVE" and "HATE" thing originates from "Night of the Hunter" (It's one of my favorite films). Mitchum does not have the same tattoos in "Cape Fear." HOWEVER, you're probably thinking of Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear," where he had Robert De Niro's character have "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on his knuckles as an homage to Mitchum in "Hunter," since De Niro was playing the role Mitchum had in the original. And, if you're an anal retentive completist like me, don't forget that Spike Lee also paid homage to "Hunter" by having Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) wear "LOVE" and "HATE" brass knuckles in "Do the Right Thing." (He even delivers the same monologue Mitchum has in "Hunter" about the significance of the two words.) I don't think that was the case for P.T. Anderson, though - it's more of a thematic thing than an homage....but I could be wrong.
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