Wait a second! .... am I not describing humans and their lives?
Blending realism with surrealism, Magnolia is one of Paul Thomas Anderson's works and ,definitely, his most ambitious one.
Every story is as rich and intriguing as their characters. Stories that are harmoniously told, and embellished with Aimee Mann's heavenly soundtrack. The result is a three-hour epic mosaic devoid of any moment of boredom.
I think Donnie Smith's story, William H. Macy's character, is the most profound and the richest one. Nevertheless, it's also the most poorly told one, comparing it to the others. It could have been explored more. I wish I was as invested in it as I respected it after it ended.
Also, the movie could have been less on exposition in terms of characters a little bit more. Because I think what I've seen from the fantastic acting and the masterful use of symbolism are more than enough to make everything clear.
That being said, these issues are almost indiscernible, and it was difficult for me to notice them.
Magnolia is not my favorite PTA film, but hands down it's the most entertaining one despite its long runtime.
Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson's first big movie that is as wild as it is weird. It is a quick cut, but long and slow narrative between around 10 major characters' lives. I wish it were shorter and more fast paced, but alas Anderson fails to cut down his films to a more manageable size. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Magnolia. Its unique shots, story twists, and excellent writing keep it in check.
Beautiful music and heartfelt writing collide as the intertwined lives of these various figures in society mesh for the most original film I have seen in a long time. There is no other film quite like Magnolia. It is like the intense crescendo of harrowing events like Requiem for a Dream with the scattered perspective narrative of Pulp Fiction. It even has moments of the surreal comedy like the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski or Fargo.
Notably, Magnolia features incredibly moving acting. Tom Cruise gives one of his most versatile and enjoyable performances, while John C. Reilly delivers his most touching dramatic role ever. Philip Seymour Hoffman is also so empathetic and kind. You feel his acting in your soul. William H. Macy is wonderful. Julieanne Moore continues her endless string of brilliant dramatic roles. Magnolia is perfectly cast.
Magnolia may be odd, but its originality and creativity know no bounds. Check it out if you can handle delicate subject matter. The drama is worth watching.
This is, in my opinion, Tom Cruise's best role. He has never received due recognition his amazing portrayal here.
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.