[Paul Thomas Anderson]
In fact, I was so especially taken by both the level of individual excellence obviously achieved by each of the key players on the production side of the film as well as the overarching emotional gestalt & great burgeoning catharsis successfully encapsulated within the framework of the stories therein that it still takes me by startled surprise when I stumble across 'professional' film critics who seem completely oblivious to (what certainly seems to me to be) the numerous praiseworthy aspects of said film.
The deliberate pacing in this movie, coupled with the slow-burn of it's characters' journeys towards not only each other but also towards a more profound and deeply-introspective understanding of their own core selves culminates in an immensely satisfying climax that goes a considerable distance towards providing a vicarious cathartic release for the viewer fortunate enough to find themselves as thoroughly entranced as was I during that initial experience.
In addition, the casting choices were both pleasantly unusual and, ultimately, inspired; here we see actors/actresses cast in roles which at first appear to be completely counterintuitive in regards to their established pattern of successful character portrayals in past projects. It is, perhaps, precisely because of this unfamiliarity of character assignment that I was able to so thoroughly lose myself in the unraveling sequence of events without constantly having those quick magic-dispelling reality checks where all I can do is rate a performer's ability to play a particular character instead of being able to forget that the actor is in fact anyone other than the current role in which they have been cast.
I could spend inordinate amounts of additional time expounding on the further accomplishments of this movie, but can presumably make due with simply doing my best to honor the heart of this work by once again assuring potential watchers that this is a masterwork of modern cinema and a powerful & beautiful celluloid dissection of questionable circumstance, overt acknowlegment, personal responsibility, hidden motivation, inner growth, and the promise & hope of eventual healing.
I cannot speak highly enough of this movie and encourage all who have even remotely considered taking in this film to do themselves the immense favor of finally doing so.
I cannot see how you would possibly be disappointed once having done so.
The one negative about this review process is that I can't rate it lower.
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.
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.