There Will Be Blood : Eli, personality disorder?

Eli, personality disorder?

I always assumed Eli/Paul was one person with a personality disorder. Especially because of how perplexed Daniel looks when they first meet Eli while quail hunting. And it also seemed that Daniel was eventually savvy to Eli's being mentally screwy, how he taunts Eli's mental problem in the ending scene, praising his other personality just to mess with him. I don't know what the original treatment is of Paul/Eli in the book, but I think this is the movie's twist on it. Any thoughts on this?

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I know originally the Script had 2 separate characters but I often wonder this myself now after multiple viewings. PTA is definitely creative enough to essentially combine those 2 and have it almost play out as a sorta battle between Religion and Capitalism in one person. I'm not saying that's how I 100% feel but it has been something I've thought quite a bit about

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Eli mentions Paul to his father in the scene when he attacks his father. This makes me think Paul is real.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

People with multiple personalities are often aware of them.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

But wouldn't that mean that the entire movie should be from Eli's perspective?

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Why wouldn't a schizophrenic mention his other personality that he believed to be real? Makes perfect sense.

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Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Decent point. I thought that the family's reaction was that they realized he was talking about his brother, not some alternate personality. Just how I interpreted it

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

It's possible Paul was a brother who left home prior to the events of the movie and was never heard from again, and Eli assumes his identity when he first meets Daniel.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I have trouble believing that they were originally separate characters.

1) Assuming a false identity seems like something Eli would totally do. Even referencing the fake person later (when attacking his dad) seems like something Eli would do. Eli liked to focus on himself as a good guy and deny the greedy part of his personality.

2) The scene where Daniel "first" meets Eli totally feels like they both know Eli is faking. You can see Daniel looking at Eli and thinking "are you seriously crazy enough to try to pretend we haven't met? In that case, I'm going to play along just to mess with you later."

3) Who was the actor originally cast to play Eli? I don't see him named anywhere. You'd think that detail would spill eventually.

4) We're told that Paul Dano was originally cast for just one scene, but then upgraded to the second-most important role in the film practically on a whim. Are casting decisions really made like that?

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Interesting points, though the one thing that really puts the idea to rest that Eli and Paul are the same person is the fact that Plainview gave Paul that cash when he came to tell him about his oil. Back then, that was A LOT of money, and it's basically nonsensical to think that after that payday, Eli wouldn't be off on his way away from his father and the bleak existence of the Sunday ranch. Or even if he did return home, he could have built his church with that money instead. Also, remember: film shoots have schedules too. It's a pretty well known and confirmed fact that there was someone else who was to play the role until it turned out they were unable to. PTA had to cast Dano relatively late in the process due to the fact that shooting was already on track to begin soon at this point.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Then why the 3 glasses of beer at the end? Honestly, I was on the side that both existed for quite some time. Until recently that all changed.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Interesting theory. I need to look more into this and knowing PTA, you are probably right. #2 definitelyYou describe DDL thoughts exactly. I didn't remember much from my initial viewing, but re-watched most of the movie this week and didn't all remember them being twins/same person..and probably also forgot about the boy being someone else's "bastard in a basket". Daniel usually plays along with these things rather than confronting them head on, until he gets violent.

He's playing chess games with people and in this scenario is willing to give up a little more than Quail money to get to the oil, knowing he'll be rich and doesn't want to undermine his efforts. Eli is a conniving snake, so I can get behind believing they are one person. Fits in with the duality and religion/capitalism themes. Both main characters fake being opposites of their true nature in order to achieve their greedy goals.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I agree this is a very compelling theory, however isn't it quelled in its entirety just before Daniel beats Eli to death? He tells Eli how his his brother is now doing extremely well with his own company that he was able to fund from the money given to him by Daniel at the beginning of the film?

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

He was lying. In the beginning of the movie, Daniel gives Paul $500. At the end, he claims it was $10,000.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Fan fiction.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Paul and Eli were originally played by two different actors, but the actor that played Paul sucked so PT Anderson cast someone else. They weren't even intended to look alike, let alone be the same person.

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Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I would just like to point out that multiple personalities aka DID has not been proven to exist.

Sybil (which was not a true story) popularized the illness, hollywood and other forms of media have been the reason for its continuation. The few people who have claimed to have the illness have been disproved. Their brain waves were compared with non DID participants who were lying and others who were acting. Patients with DID were extremely similar to the actors.

There is no medication or treatment for this illness because it has not been proved to exist except in films and television.

Sorry, I just hate when people think this is a real illness.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I've been thinking the same exact thing: that Paul was the host personality and Eli was the alter ego! Paul didn't irritate Daniel as much in his one big scene but did mention religion and asked where Daniel's faith lied. When they met the Sunday family and saw the striking similarities between Paul and Eli (assuming that Paul was out on his own drilling for oil elsewhere), neither Daniel or H.W. mentioned their lookalike qualities. Since they were swindling the Sundays out of their land and oil, they couldn't exactly mention meeting Paul earlier; and was multiple personality disorder a common mental illness in the early 1900's which Daniel would have known about? Or did he just think Eli was a grifter pretending to be Paul? Aside from Jekyll and Hyde, I don't think there would be any literary tales of duality of the mind! I do think that Daniel displayed many dualities probably via manic-depression or raging alcoholism! Paul seemed like a country boy looking for a menial profit while Eli was depicted as a greedy preacher out to humiliate Daniel! When Daniel told Eli in the last scene that Paul was the "chosen brother" and that he helped finance his current wealth, was Eli shaken up because he realized that he was Paul and spent that money on oil instead of his ministry? And why would Eli seek counsel and financial help from Daniel, pretending to be friends when they actually were adversaries? Memory lapse! If the MPD is prevalent in the Sunday brothers, I feel sorry for Paul as Eli pretty much took over until their mutual death! The things Daniel spewed out to Eli "you slithered out on your mother's filth" could have triggered the breakdown that Eli was having when Daniel bashed his *beep* brains in!

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

That wouldn't make much sense, since ELI mentions PAUL when he's attacking his father.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Identical twins in the movie. Older brother Paul, younger brother Eli in the book.

Re: Eli, personality disorder?

Talk about reaching. They are clearly NOT the same person.

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Re: Eli, personality disorder?

I want to revive the Split personality argument. I've read every response on this thread and will address a few of the points made.

Yes, I have read that PTA had two actors originally for the Paul and Eli characters and it didn't work out with the other guy. So why, have Paul Dano play both? It makes no sense that PTA couldn't find a substitute for the inadequate original Eli and the only option he had was to have Dano play both parts. Why confuse people? He's Paul Thomas Effing Anderson. He could have had a dozen actors on a plane the next day to fill in.

We NEVER see Paul and Eli in the same scene. Why?

Eli pours three drinks in the final scene. Why?

If they WEREN'T different people, PTA definitely infused enough doubt about it. Purposefully, I suspect.

Eli's near complete mental breakdown in final scene.
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