Magnolia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Magnolia Reviews

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October 25, 2017
A deeply emotional and human journey through the ups and downs of many, many lives. The threads that run through each story truly make them all feel like one, creating the most satisfying ensemble film I think I've ever seen.
½ September 26, 2017
PT Anderson magically injects a pace that works for such a long film. The sometimes surprising cuts back and forth between the various stories helps keep things moving but also can be distracting and disjointing. If anything, making this as a 8 hour mini-series may have been better. Also, what's up with the frogs?
½ September 13, 2017
If I could have stopped watching Magnolia at about the two and a half hour mark, and just guessed at what would happen over the last half hour, I think my feelings about the movie would be much more positive. They establish a cornucopia of interesting characters, played by amazing actors. They give us a ton of different plots and subplots that all engaged me. They even set up, in the opening narration, the promise of a truly special conclusion. I was on board, fully invested, and ready to be wowed. That?s about when Paul Thomas Anderson decided to become an artiste. He actively plays against expectations, flying in the face of what a normal audience would want, and gives pointless insanity. I?m sure some people who love symbolism, metaphor, and ambiguous artistic expression will have a totally different view on this (and the high critic scores show that.) However for a dumb-dumb like me it takes what I was enjoying as an engaging realistic drama, and throws it into surreal land. The tone and style swing is so dramatic that I needed a neck brace to avoid whiplash. There are a few other choices made by Anderson that annoyed me, like some dialogue that was too quiet and music playing loudly over that dialogue, but those are minor quibbles. My review is a tale of two movies, the one I was enjoying, and the one it turned into. It?s hard to know how to rate something like this because it was great until it became bonkers.
September 8, 2017
Truly unlike anything else, 'Magnolia' is one of those movies that stays with you long after watching it. Fantastic performances and a heartbreaking script from P.T. Anderson come together to create something emotional and profoundly original.
August 31, 2017
Amazing performances and Paul Thomas Anderson demonstrates his love of actors in this film, letting them explore all sorts of insane and brilliant nuances of generally unlikable characters. The biblical ending was also a stroke of genius.
August 17, 2017
Fantastic movie. This is a film with such a large ambition from its up-and-coming director, and it reaches every height it aims for with intelligent writing, interlapping stories done right, compelling characters and phenomenal performances from its entire ensemble cast, resulting in a masterpiece only Anderson could deliver.
August 16, 2017
Darkly comic, sometimes depressing, and filled with stunning performances from an ensemble cast that shine, Paul Thomas Anderson directs with fierce and ambitious force and focus that makes 'Magnolia' a masterpiece that is hard define, as it is to forget.
August 14, 2017
One of the greatest movies of all time in my honest opinion. Absolute masterpiece that will make you feel pretty much all of the possible human emotions all in one movie.
July 16, 2017
To put it short, Magnolia may be my favorite PTA film. I love this movie. A+
July 5, 2017
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is an artsy movie about tragedy in peoples lives and how they cope with it. All the stories blend together in a beautiful tangle between fate and karma, and even though it is 3 hours in length, it left me wanting more.
½ July 2, 2017
I struggle with P.T. Anderson films. When I saw Magnolia in the theater in 1999, I left hating the film for the most part. It just didn't make sense. It was so long. And the frogs at the end was the clincher for being completely insane and over the top. But over the nearly two decades since, P.T. Anderson and this film have gradually got to me. I think it's partly just maturity as a human being and as a cinephile that has brought me to see past some of the warts and wrinkles in this movie, and appreciate it more for its intentions than its actions.

So it's gone from 2 stars to 3.5 stars, to where I can appreciate what it's trying to do even if I don't think it does it in the best way it could.
July 1, 2017
You can tell how personal this movie is, and I think that's why some of it didn't click for me. The performances alone makes it watchable, particularly from the legendary Tom Cruise reminding me he isn't just a personality but a brilliant actor as well. The strangeness is also intriguing, very well written too.
June 26, 2017
I Will Still Get Movies On DVD Until My Collection Will Get Full.
½ June 23, 2017
I surmise that there is real genius here, however the film succumbs by being crushed under it's own weight.
June 18, 2017
Magnolia rotates between comedy and melancholy with master precision, showcasing its interesting and thoroughly developed characters, and never losing sight of its study of the human soul and search for forgiveness.
June 10, 2017
wonderful acting....
May 17, 2017
I wasted 40 minutes of my life watching this dreck. The idea that there was over two more hours to go made my decision to turn it off easy. Maybe it get better later on. Maybe it makes sense later on but the odds were overwhelming that it would not improve. I did think the performances were very good, particularly Tom Cruise but I simply don't have time to waste.
April 6, 2017
Paul Thomas Anderson balances Magnolia's epic scope with it's intensely personal tales beautifully.
April 4, 2017
"Magnolia" is an impressive feat. It contains an engrossing sense of uniqueness that I've never seen done before in a movie in such a way like this. Despite being over 3 hours, this movie never lost my interest for a single minute. I loved "There Will Be Blood". However, this is now my favorite Paul Thomas Anderson film.

This movie features numerous interconnected storylines of characters who undergo internal and external conflicts such as a nurse (Phil) sent to look after an elderly man (Earl) dying of cancer, a boy genius (Stanley) who's close to breaking a record on a game show called "What Do Kid's Know?" in which the host (Jimmy) also has cancer, a sex-guru (Frank) who grew to hate women due to his childhood, a cop (Jim) who becomes attracted to a woman (Claudia) whose house he goes to, a previous winner of the game show (Donnie) who wants to get braces, and a woman (Linda) who doesn't want to get will money from Earl after he dies.

Despite being over 3 hours long, I feel like this is one of the most engaging films I've seen in years. All of the main characters in the film undergo different kinds of conflicts. I felt feelings of suspense and sadness in about every single one of its shots. As the film cut between different sequences of the characters' struggles, I was completely absorbed in the film. It didn't lose my interest at all. A great scene from the film is when all of the characters start singing Aimee Mann's "Wise Up." This scene shows how all the characters are going through similar struggles. It's also an example of the theme of coincidence. The most beautiful sequence in the film, however, is when Earl talks about his regrets to Phil. This scene is emotionally powerful, and it lingered with me long after watching it.

However, probably the most memorable scene is the surprising final act. Although that sequence seems out-of-place at first glance, it makes sense considering the theme of "coincidence" in the film. The first scene from the film which showed the 3 instances of coincidence justified the final act. It showed that instead of something bringing all the characters together in a conventional way, something bizarre would do it. What happened at the final act concluded all of the character arcs. The final act is, without a doubt, the best scene from the film. It's also one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

The theme of parenting and the effects that it has on children was handled well. A character who's a good example of this theme is Frank. We learn from an interview that Frank had to take care of his mother since his father left him. When he grows up, he becomes a sex guru and a misogynist. The movie raises the question: How did his hatred pass from his father to women? There is also Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, a former winner of "What Do Kid's Know?". When he was young, his father took all the money he won on the show away from him. This eventually influenced him to try and steal money to afford the braces. The best example of this theme, however, is Stanley Spector since he's the only main child character in the film. While on the show, he acts out against his dad after he realizes that his dad is using him for money. Since these characters were fully developed in the film, this theme was handled well.

The ensemble cast did a great job. Tom Cruise as Frank T.J. Mackey did a great job. Cruise is usually hit or miss for me. However, I think that this role was perfect for him as he did a great job in it. This is, undoubtedly, his best role yet. Jason Robards as Earl Partridge did an outstanding job. Despite playing a weak, elderly man dying of cancer, there was always humanity and emotion that he delivered (it's ironic that the actor playing Earl died of cancer a year after this film was released). Julianna Moore as Linda Partridge was also fantastic. She always managed to sound charismatic and energetic without sounding over-the-top. All of the other actors and actresses were great as well. I didn't have any particular issues with a cast member.

In conclusion, this movie is definitely a masterpiece. When I consider how it's able to create suspense and heartbreak out of just about every scene, have one of the most surprising movie scenes of all time, and contain a lot or re-watch value, it sticks out as one of the most impressive films I can think of. We witness the pains and struggles of the people in this epic throughout its 3 hour runtime, and the film remains absorbing from beginning to end.
February 11, 2017
Few films encapsulate a singular idea as beautifully as P.T. Anderson's epic masterpiece MAGNOLIA. It's very simple: this is a perfect film.

This movie is quite obviously about mishandled relationships, specifically parents and children. Anderson's opinions on father-son relationships are really fascinating to me. There are very few secure or healthy father-son relationships in Anderson films. Dirk Diggler walks all over his impish, emasculated father in BOOGIE NIGHTS, Daniel Plainview realizes his incapability to choose his son over his own greed in THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and Barry Egan only has female familial relationships in PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE.
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