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Magnolia (1999)

R | | Drama | 7 January 2000 (USA)
2:47 | Trailer

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An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
601 ( 338)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 28 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Genevieve Zweig ...
Mrs. Godfrey
Mark Flanagan ...
Joseph Green (as Mark Flannagan)
Stanley Berry
Rod McLachlan ...
Daniel Hill
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


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


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



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mag·no'li·a  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$193,604, 19 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the books Stanley is reading at the library is about scientist Charles Fort, who is noted for his work expanding the boundaries of scientific research to include strange phenomena such as those featured in the film. See more »


During the argument between the adults and the kids during the game show, the kids and Cynthia, the show's producer, discover that Stanley peed in his pants. She appears in the shot right next to Stanley. When the camera cuts to show a different angle from the kids and the adults competitors, she disappears from the shot to later on return when there's a close-up with her and Stanley. See more »


[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

Pedestrian #2 is incorrectly spelled Pedistrian #2. See more »


Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #4.9 (2009) See more »


Nothing Is Good Enough
Written by Aimee Mann
Performed by Aimee Mann
Courtesy of Superego Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A positive, joyful film
29 March 2003 | by 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.

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