8.0/10
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1,446 user 224 critic

Magnolia (1999)

R | | Drama | 7 January 2000 (USA)
An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
Popularity
765 ( 14)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 28 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sir Edmund William Godfrey / Young Pharmacy Kid
Genevieve Zweig ...
Mrs. Godfrey
Mark Flanagan ...
Joseph Green (as Mark Flannagan)
...
Stanley Berry
Rod McLachlan ...
Daniel Hill
...
Firefighter
...
Delmer Darion
Raymond 'Big Guy' Gonzales ...
Reno Security Guard
...
Craig Hansen
...
Forensic Scientist
...
Sydney Barringer
...
Arthur Barringer
Frank Elmore ...
1958 Detective
John Kraft Seitz ...
1958 Policeman
Cory Buck ...
Young Boy
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, drug use, sexuality and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mag·no'li·a  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$193,604 (USA) (17 December 1999)

Gross:

$22,450,975 (USA) (12 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the Smiling Peanut bar there is a chalkboard that lists two teams, "The Frogs" and "The Clouds". Both are plays by the ancient Greek comedic playwright Aristophanes. See more »

Goofs

Approximately 13 minutes into the film, Officer Jim Kurring is wearing sunglasses while driving that reflect the camera mounted on the hood. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: 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...
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the credit for Robert Downey Sr. scrolls up the screen, the words "(a prince)" appear next to his name. See more »

Connections

Features I Love You Again (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Momentum
Written by Aimee Mann
Performed by Aimee Mann
Courtesy of Superego Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A positive, joyful film
29 March 2003 | by (England) – See all my reviews

A rich slice of modern life presented wonderfully by Paul Thomas Anderson. Nine or so "broken" people are followed through the film, each of them at least vaguely interconnected to the others. We are shown where they are currently at in life, and find out what has happened to have brought them there. By the end of the film, they are finally at a point where they can confront what is making them so unhappy and perhaps take control of their lives and look forward to a brighter future (even if their time is limited).

Some people have complained about the ending of the film, perhaps hoping for everything to be neatly tied up, or at least for something less absurd than we get. In my opinion, however, it is perfectly apt for things to end as they do. We dip into these characters' lives in the present, learn about their past, and leave with optimism for their future. I would have found a cinematic "group hug" to be overly sentimental and highly unnecessary. For that alone, the director must be applauded for exercising some restraint. It would have been far too easy to extend the story a bit further and portray the characters as now being "mended", but this is not how real life is and would not have rung true with the film's overall tone of "this is just something that happens".

The sheer ambition of the director is also welcomed. It looks like pre-millennial tension sparked off a mini-renaissance in Hollywood, with this film and others such as "Fight Club" and "American Beauty" harking back to the period in the 70s when there was no distinction between "mainstream" and "arthouse". A-list actors and directors were not afraid to take a few risks and box-office gross was not the only factor used to denote a film's success or failure. It remains to be seen whether the current revival is just a blip. Let's hope not.

As for Mr. Cruise, although this may be his best performance to date, at times he looked a bit out of his depth. At the bedside scene, for example, the clenched fist, intense gaze and facial grimace instantly shattered my suspension of disbelief. This trademark Cruise gesture (as much so as Bruce Willis' smirk) crossed the line between character and actor, turning "Frank TJ Mackey" back into "Tom Cruise - Movie Star". For most of the film his performance was convincing, but when the role required some real emotion or loss of control, his limited acting range was exposed. I don't think he'll ever be able to achieve the credibility he'd like, but a good start would be to take on more such challenging roles, with the proviso that they are not obvious vanity projects or oscar-vehicles.

To sum up, I found this film warm and sincere, not pretentious as some have suggested. As for the frogs? Well, don't strain yourself looking for some deep, hidden metaphor, just take it at face value and enjoy the pure spectacle that you get from the sheer number and size of the frogs. It's a visually stunning sequence, up there with other truly classic moments in cinema.

From reading some of the comments presented here, it seems a shame that many people can't get past the swearing, drugs, running time or "arthouse cinema" tag. To really enjoy this film, you probably need to watch it without any such prejudices, and to leave your cynicism at the door. Don't be afraid of not "getting it", take it as you find it. Just sit back, let it envelop you and you'll be rewarded.


21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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