Critics Consensus

Critics say Magnolia is an ambitious, lengthy work that ultimately succeeds due to the interesting stories and excellent ensemble performances.



Total Count: 145


Audience Score

User Ratings: 192,787
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Movie Info

An intriguing and entertaining study in characters going through varying levels of crisis and introspection. This psychological drama leads you in several different directions, weaving and intersecting various subplots and characters, from a brilliant Tom Cruise, as a self-proclaimed pied-piper, to a child forced to go on a TV game show and the pressures he faces from a ruthless father.


Tom Cruise
as Frank T.J. Mackey
Jason Robards
as Earl Partidge
Julianne Moore
as Linda Partridge
Melinda Dillon
as Rose Gator
Philip Baker Hall
as Jimmy Gator
William H. Macy
as Donnie Smith
John C. Reilly
as Jim Kurring
Melora Walters
as Claudia Wilson Gator
Michael Bowen
as Rick Spector
Ricky Jay
as Burt Ramsey
Jeremy Blackman
as Stanley Spector
April Grace
as Gwenovier
Henry Gibson
as Thurston Howell
Don R. McManus
as Dr. Landon
Danny Wells
as Dick Jennings
Michael Murphy
as Alan Kligman, esq.
Pat Healy
as Sir Edmund William Godfrey/Young Pharmacy Kid
Genevieve Zweig
as Mrs. Godfrey
Mark Flannagan
as Joseph Green
Neil Flynn
as Stanley Berry
Rod McLachlan
as Daniel Hill
Allan Graf
as Firefighter
Patton Oswalt
as Delmer Darion
Raymond 'Big Guy' Gonzales
as Reno Security Guard
Brad Hunt
as Craig Hansen
Jim Meskimen
as Forensic Scientist
Christopher O'Hara
as Sydney Barringer
Clement Blake
as Arthur Barringer
Frank Elmore
as 1958 Detective
John Kraft Seitz
as 1958 Policeman
Cory Buck
as Young Boy
Tim 'Stuffy' Sorenen
as Infomercial Guy
Jim Ortlieb
as Middle Aged Guy
Thomas Jane
as Young Jimmy Gator
Holly Houston
as Jimmy's Showgirl
Benjamin Niedens
as Little Donnie Smith
Veronica Hart
as Dentist Nurse No. 1
Melissa Spell
as Dentist Nurse No. 2
Jake Cross
as Pedestrian No. 1
Charlie Scott
as Pedestrian No. 2
Juan Medrano
as Nurse Juan
John Pritchett
as Police Captain
Cleo King
as Marcie
Michael Shamus Wiles
as Captain Muffy
John S. Davies
as Cameraman
Kevin Breznahan
as Geoff/Seminar Guy
Miguel Pérez
as Avi Solomon
David Masuada
as Coroner Man
Neil Pepe
as Officer No. 1
Annette Helde
as Coroner Woman
Lynne Lerner
as Librarian
Scott Burkett
as WDKK Page No. 1
Bob Brewer
as Richard's Dad
Julie Brewer
as Richard's Mom
Nancy Marston
as Julia's Mom
Maurey Marston
as Julia's Dad
Jamala Gaither
as WDKK P.A.
Amy Brown
as WDKK Page No. 2
Meagen Fay
as Dr. Diane
Patrick Warren
as Todd Geronimo
Virginia Pereira
as Pink Dot Girl
Craig Kvinsland
as Brad The Bartender
Patricia Scanlon
as Cocktail Waitress
Clark Gregg
as WDKK Floor Director
Art Frankel
as Old Pharmacist
Matt Gerald
as Officer No. 2
Guillermo Melgarejo
as Pink Dot Guy
Paul F. Thompkins
as Chad (Seduce & Destroy)
Mary Lynn Rajskub
as Janet (Frank's Assistant)
Jim Beaver
as Smiling Peanut Patron No. 1
Ezra Buzzington
as Smiling Peanut Patron No. 2
Denise Woolfork
as Smiling Peanut Patron No. 3
Bob Downey Sr.
as WDKK Show Director
William Mapother
as WDKK Director's Assistant
Larry Ballard
as WDKK Medic
Brett Higgins
as Mackey Disciple Twin No. 1
Brian Paul Higgins
as Mackey Disciple Twin No. 2
Michael "Jocco" Phillips
as Mackey Disciple In Middle
Lillian Adams
as Donnie's Old Neighbor
Steven Bush
as Paramedic No. 1
Mike Massa
as Paramedic No. 2
Dale Gibson
as Paramedic No. 3
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Critic Reviews for Magnolia

All Critics (145) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (120) | Rotten (25)

Audience Reviews for Magnolia

  • Mar 25, 2015
    Between 3 and 3.5. So much of this film is faux -- faux wisdom, faux emotionalism, faux neuroticism. What seems real and authentic is mired by the overfocus on it. It is elevated by good performances and a focus on neurosis and guilt. But there is no real catharsis to be found, just unendearingly damaged characters who are self-absorbed and completely neurotic. The style, which can only be described as chaotic and scattered, as if the film itself is on speed, leaves much to be desired. It almost gave me a headache. In the end, I was disappointed -- not my kind of thing I guess. It doesn't hang together in the end. With that said, there is talent, on some level, operating here.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer
  • 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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2013
    This is a wildly great, if lengthy film of films directed by the great Paul Thomas Anderson. Clocking in at 3 hours and 8 minutes, you would expect there to be plenty of scenes that should have been cut; but no, many could have been cut but none of them should have been. The premise is pretty much a bunch of extremely dramatic stories thrown into one film, and they are all very interesting. The stories are only made better by the incredible performances driving them: it is excruciatingly rare for a film to have this many universally amazing performances. The best of them all would have to be Tom Cruise as an eccentric motivational speaker, who slowly unravels into the most broken of men in a single two-minute scene between him and his father. This is by far the best performance I've ever seen Cruise pull off. The film is overflowing with meaning and metaphor, and I think it would be impossible to fully understand and take everything in the first time around; after all, it's a three-hour film. Magnolia demands repeated viewings and is propelled by a hugely successful set of performances, a nice soundtrack, original writing, and genuinely interesting stories.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2013
    I must say Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson's most (over)ambitious film. The emsemble drama among multiple characters/narratives is a facinating and insightful concept. Due to strange circumstances among many ordinary lives the most strangest events happen. Includes some of Anderson's long time collaborators and big name stars who can thank the opprotunity to work with such a brilliant film maker. Its hard to think whats the moral or main concern? and how all the narratives connect that lead up the final scenes/event. The film is incredibly entertaining, insightful and inspiring and very long at 3 hours. Its memorable for its incredible performances by the actors, Anderson's script and Bold Direction. Far from being a masterpiece but more closer to being the ambitious arthouse blockbuster of 90s cinema.
    Luke E Super Reviewer

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