A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
24 hours in L.A.; it's raining cats and dogs. Two parallel and intercut stories dramatize men about to die: both are estranged from a grown child, both want to make contact, and neither child wants anything to do with dad. Earl Partridge's son is a charismatic misogynist; Jimmy Gator's daughter is a cokehead and waif. A mild and caring nurse intercedes for Earl, reaching the son; a prayerful and upright beat cop meets the daughter, is attracted to her, and leads her toward a new calm. Meanwhile, guilt consumes Earl's young wife, while two whiz kids, one grown and a loser and the other young and pressured, face their situations. The weather, too, is quirky. Written by
The film's climax famously involves a rain of frogs. This actually happened to Philip Baker Hall when he was vacationing in Italy. See more »
Shadow moving on the wall behind Frank Mackey as he sits down beside Earl's deathbed. See more »
In the New York Herald, November 26, year 1911, there is an account of the hanging of three men. They died for the murder of Sir Edmund William Godfrey; Husband, Father, Pharmacist and all around gentle-man resident of: Greenberry Hill, London. He was murdered by three vagrants whose motive was simple robbery. They were identified as: Joseph Green, Stanley Berry, and Daniel Hill. Green, Berry, Hill. And I Would Like To Think This was Only A Matter Of Chance. As reported in the Reno...
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Underneath the title at the end a line reads "for fa and ea". fa is Fiona Apple (Paul Thomas Anderson's girlfriend) ea is Ernie Anderson (Paul Thomas Anderson's father) See more »
Forget American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, Eyes Wide Shut. Magnolia is definitely the best movie of 1999, and one of the best American movies ever made.
Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson's previous effort was already a promising effort, but it was a bit too long. Magnolia is even longer, but it's filled with such a spectrum of touching stories and such a quantity of wonderful characters, that I didn't even notice the three hour length. Magnolia is a mosaic of intertwining and intercepting stories, dealing with such issues as forgiveness, hurt, redemption, sin and the role of chance in our lives. And though the film offers a deep emotional catharsis, it never loses it delicate, humane tone. The people Magnolia displays are not the best of men, but none of them are beyond forgiveness. That, to my opinion, is the most important message the film conveys.
As many have already said, Magnolia is an ensemble piece. Acting is superb throughout the film, and though Magnolia has approximately ten lead role and a bunch of supporting characters, there isn't a single member of the cast who is misplaced. My personal favorites are Philip Seymour Hoffman as the sensitive nurse (compare this role to the sleazy characters he played in Boogie Nights, Happiness and The Talented Mr Ripley and you'll notice what a great actor he is), Tom Cruise as the self-made seduction guru (his best performance ever) and William H. Macy as the former child prodigy who never grew up (his role resembles the one he did in Fargo, but in Magnolia he is redeemed of his sins).
No film is perfect and even Magnolia has it's flaws, but I'm still so stunned by this masterpiece that I haven't even started to think what they could be. That, I think, says it all about the quality of this film.
Rating: **** (of ****)
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