P. T. Anderson’s Dilemma: the Limits of Surrogate Paternity

Julian Murphet


P.T. Anderson's latest film, There Will Be Blood, represents both a culmination and a crisis within his career-long investigation of the limits of paternity and the solace of surrogacy. By pressing that ongoing antagonism to a kind of absurd extreme in Daniel Day Lewis' performance, this paper argues that Anderson undoes it and leaves his future possible direction unclear. Further, by battening on the corpus of Upton Sinclair's 1926 novel, Anderson introduces a political unconscious that his rigorous reduction to a family drama cannot fully contain or defuse.

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