Magnolia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Magnolia Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 19, 2013
Magnolia is a very good film by director Paul Thomas Anderson. However I don't believe it is his best like so many critics have pointed out. Anderson would hone his craft in his future work, but with Magnolia we get to see a director creating something unique. Anderson has always been one of the finer directors who are able to craft quality films with great casts of talented actors. Magnolia is a sweeping movie that intertwines the lives of different people into a powerful story. I really loved the film, but I just don't feel that it is Thomas Anderson's best. He would later make the far superior Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood. But Magnolia is a fine film that should appeal to viewers looking for a well directed picture that tells a good story. Is it the sweeping masterpiece that viewers have claimed it to be? No, it isn't, but it is worth seeing, and Paul Thomas Anderson's direction is wonderful and he tells an interesting story that is dark and intense. A theme that seems to pop out constantly throughout the film is finding happiness and hope. Magnolia draws its strength from its captivating performances from the cast, and each brings something wonderful to the screen. Although not perfect, Magnolia is a well executed picture that tells a solid story. This is a must see film for fans of the director, and it is a well paced film that you soon won't forget. The cast is what makes this one overcome its shortcomings, and the best actors here that have impressed me are Julianne Moore, John C. Reilley and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I liked Tom Cruise, but I simply thought he was a bit overdoing it in his performance. Magnolia is worth seeing, but like I previously stated, Anderson would later mature as a director with more interesting films that really pushed the envelope even further.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2006

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: A[/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2012
A realist and surrealist ambitious work by P.T., Magnolia it's the Short Cuts from the end of 90's and a more serious version of Happiness.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2012
Claudia Wilson Gator: I'll tell you everything, and you tell me everything, and maybe we can get through all the piss and shit and lies that kill other people. 

"Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours."

Magnolia is a good example for why Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best filmmakers around. He's yet to make a bad movie, and a lot of the time, at the end of watching one of his films, I am left stunned. That's the case with Magnolia, maybe more than any other of his great movies. This a beautiful, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, film. We watch characters and their personal lives intersect. At first, we don't know how these different stories relate, but slowly Anderson brings them together. You know a movie is amazing when just over 3 hours of runtime feels quick.

We see the lives of different people intersect and the movie comes to an unforgettable end. The people who's lives we see are a child on a gameshow, a gameshow host that just found out he has cancer, the daughter of the gameshow host is a cocaine addict, and a cop. Also there is a dying old man, his much younger wife, a caregiver, and a guy who teaches men how to fuck any woman they want to. 

This is an extremely emotional film and there are a wide array of subjects touched in Anderson's amazing script. Addiction, guilt, forgiveness, and love happen to be some of the biggest. Everything is handled with such care, that every single thing Anderson is trying to present comes across in a clear and precise way, but without being too in your face obvious. 

Magnolia is an absolute masterpiece. Its length may be a turn off for some people, but it is a film worth sitting through. There's nothing hard about watching it either. I was never bored and for a movie that runs 3 hours; that is a rarity. This is visionary filmmaking from one of the best around right now. There's a huge cast with big names like Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Jason Robards, Philip Baker Hall, William H. Macy, and John C. Reilly. All of them, plus a variety of others give flawless performances. Cruise, Macy, and Reilly are my standouts. I don't care what your opinion of Tom Cruise is; his performance in this is ridiculously good.

Like every PTA film, this is a must watch. Anderson calls it his best film and who am I to disagree with him. There Will Be Blood, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love; they're all great. Punch Drunk Love is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights, both masterpieces. But Magnolia is a movie that is just something else entirely. Describing what that is, is just about impossible.
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2012
Exhausting and occasionally melodramatic, but completely stunning in its acute attention to detail, fascinating characters, and just about everything else that qualifies a film as "stunning."
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2008
What a massive-ass movie. The zooms and tracking shots are jarring and dramatic, the script is sensitive but not mawkish, the soundtrack...actually makes me enjoy Aimee Mann. The bits of eccentric fantasy may be weird but they JUST WORK! Bravura performance by Melora Walters as Claudia, the drug addict with daddy issues. Her hands never stop moving. She spits out her words with nervous urgency as if there are too many others taking up room in her mouth.
Super Reviewer
½ December 3, 2011
Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Magnolia' is a great achievment for the director. The acting from the great ensemble cast was brilliant (Tom Cruise= WOW), the camera work was the usual PTA top notch, and the surprising, unexpected climax was appalling. Fans of Film should relish such a multi-layered film, but the casual movie watcher may find the 3 hour run time too much to handle.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2011
PTA uses what he learned from watching Robert Altman and creates an epic, operatic masterpiece. With an ensemble cast that is second to none, this one blew me away.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2011
I finally sat down and watched the three-hour epic "Magnolia" from Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood"). I found it to be a sterile, overblown intellectual exercise with no characters that had any authenticity. All the characters, and there are about 20, were caricatures intended to convey the filmmaker's ideas. Not one of them felt like a real person to me.

Furthermore, the filmmaker's ideas weren't interesting.

The legendary frog shower at the end struck me as a pretentious device from a screenwriter running on empty. Rarely have I seen a filmmaker try so hard and come up so empty-handed.
Super Reviewer
½ April 23, 2008
Forgiveness, like anything truly important in life, is all too easily spoke of and ruminated over but oh so difficult to come to. Anderson boldly attacks this consideration with a masterpiece of an ensemble work that's perhaps not for everyone and yet nonetheless sublimely stunning and magnificent.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2011
When watching Magnolia, many emotions go through your head at different stages. There are times when you might laugh, times when you might cry, but the final scene provides an emotion greater than any other. Hope. When a certain character smiles, you smile, as you know that even in difficult times there is always someone who cares about you and help you get through it. Paul Thomas Anderson made a film where everything falls into place beautifully. You follow 9 characters apart of one storyline, and not one feels out of place or under developed. This is one of the best ensamble casts in a film I've ever witnessed. Everyone gives a truly magnificent performance, with Philip Baker Hall, Julianne Moore and especially Tom Cruise, who gives the performance of his lifetime, standing out. The screenplay proves to have incredibly moving moments, which Anderson executes in a way that shows his genius. You will be able to identify with the characters, you can connect with all 9 of them. Certain scenes will always stick in my mind, as will the incredible soundtrack. All of these stories lead to an unforgettable climax and to the scene I mentioned at the beginning of this review. It is a film essential for you to watch, it may help you at a time in your life. P.T. Anderson said that, for better or for worse, Magnolia will be his best film. It is, arguably, his best film.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2010
The keywords given to describe this film are perfect: deep, weird, depressing, and complex. In the very beginning we're told that the lives of these people all somehow intersect to make a type of tapestry that weaves the events of the film together. Some of the characters are nicely put together, including TJ Mackey (Cruise), a misogynistic self help guru for likewise heterosexual men trying to claim women as possessions. Cruise is intertwined with Earl Patridge (Robards) a wealthy man on his death bed, awaiting closure with his son, TJ, before he dies. Tied into all of this are the stories of Earl's wife (Moore) a woman utterly hysterical at her own stupidity and certain newfound love for her aged husband, a cop who loves a woman who is secretly a junkie, a dying game show host, and a former boy wonder who is left with less intellect after being struck by lightening. Nothing here is the type of weirdness that infatuates the hipster breed, but instead a strange series of events that are both nonsenical to the average person, but also scope the quite average person's take on death, love, addiction, possession, and leaving the past to dwell in said past. Besides the ridiculous ending (SPOILER ALERT: frogs rain down from the sky) everything is shown to be building to some form of resolution. It caters to everyone's mindset, without belying the point of happiness and forgiveness, central to all of Anderson's films.
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2006
Magnolia is proof that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best directors working today. P.T.A. achieved not only an impressive film, but he managed to put together an undisputable classic. He made two otherwise ridiculous scenes work, and actually made them seem necessary (they're, of course, the singing bit and the frog rain).

Beautifully shot and scored, by Robert Elswit and Jon Bryon, respectively, Magnolia flows smoothly, while it successfully moves you with its strong portrayals of diseased and troubled lives.

The film is a beautiful work of art on so many levels: the cinematography, the score, the editing, Anderson's master-class direction, and of course, its most popular asset: the unbelievable ensemble cast. Tom Cruise gives his best performance here, but other actors stand out too, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore, Melora Walters, Philip Baker Hall, Jason Robards, William H. Macy and April Grace.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2011
An emotional and complex film with some terrific performances by an all-star cast. The film might run a little long and the story might be a bit strange, but there's definitely something special here.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" is a powerhouse of a film. It's complex, probing, emotional and unforgettable. Every actor in it's large ensemble turns in a riveting performance. "Magnolia" is as much of an opera as it is a film, with is epic emotional scale and larger than life but always intensely human performances.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2008
I've watched this three times in the last few days, and I feel like watching it again as I write this. It's extremely complex; even more so than the other Paul Thomas Anderson movies. I know how I feel about it, but it's almost impossible to communicate it with words.  

There are so many characters and so many loosely connected plotlines, but I  never once felt lost. The fact that this three hour movie never once feels tedious or drawn-out, is absolutely amazing. It's incredibly easy to watch and get swept up in the events of these people's lives. Some of them are much more interesting than others. A few of the characters and storylines held little interest for me, but what John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise, and (especially) Melora Walters do here is just amazing. I never thought I'd see a movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and William H. Macy in it where they weren't the best actors, but as good as they were, they can't hold a candle to the three performances I just mentioned.

This isn't for everyone. That's an understatement. Some people will find it pretentious. Others, will find certain events absurd. And most people will find themselves searching for the meaning of it all, after it ends. Magnolia is the kind of movie that requires repeated viewings, so be aware of that. Every single time I've watched it, I've understood and loved it a little bit more. Once you watch that final scene and feel something click inside you, you'll know that you've seen something special. Something so ambitious and unique that there's really little I can compare it to.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2010
"You can forget the past, but the past won't forget you."
Quite a briliant film that has a lot to offer, and is what I believe to be an educational piece of cinema by Paul Thomas Anderson.
The film consists of a series of poignant vignettes of nine interrelated characters through coincidence, past history, human action, and divine intervention in the San Fernando Valley.
There is a lot going on in this film that touches on many issues which are problems in our society, and how certain individuals choose to deal with them.
As John C. Reilly's police officer character says, "Sometimes you forgive people and let them off, and sometimes you send them to jail." This pertains not to only prison, but to the containment which dwells within each of us which keeps our emotions behind bars that are so desperately in need of freedom.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2010
Paul Thomas Anderson's most unique film and also probably one of his most powerful. It gives you a series of characters that you inevitably fall in love with and relate to. Not only is it a triumph in Anderson's style, but also a series of flawless performances from Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2009
Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours.
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