[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: A[/color][/font]
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.