Magnolia (1999) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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>
  • The coincidence in this movie is not apparent. Rather, I believe this movie is about choice- and the where and when this reality manifests itself. Throughout the film, we are introduced to characters both young and old, perhaps only sharing emptiness among them. Through the variety especially in age of characters, the movie presents choice in its three forms- present, past, and future- making present choices, choices already made, and setting ourselves up to make choices in the future. The movie emphasizes choices made over the other two. We witness two men, who have nothing else in common aside from their expected and imminent deaths, regress painfully over wretched pasts- results of pathetic choices. Furthermore, the movie affirms the eminence of present choices through a young prodigy displayed on a game show. Will he too one day regret his past decisions? Our prophetic cop indirectly divulges his personal secret to making unknown future decisions- morality.

    - Written by Aaron Baum
  • In the style of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, coincidence has played a part in three bizarre deaths during the past century... Jimmy Gator has hosted the popular quiz show "What Do Kids Know?" in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Stanley is the brightest of the three kids currently reigning on the show. Jimmy is estranged from his daughter, Claudia. Living in her cheap apartment, Claudia is hooked on cocaine. Donnie Smith had been a famous whiz kid on Jimmy's show decades ago. Since being hit by lightning, he does promotional work for the Solomon Bros. appliance store and dreams of getting an expensive set of braces for his teeth. Frank Mackey is a very successful motivational speaker. His aggressive seminar on dating, "Seduce and Destroy", is well attended by frustrated bachelors. Officer Kurring answers a call at a woman's apartment and finds a corpse in her closet. Affluent producer Earl Partridge is bedridden and dying of cancer. His beautiful wife Linda married him for his money... The quiz show kids are close to setting an all-time record; Stanley feels the pressure from his father. Jimmy has learned that he has cancer and only two months to live. Officer Kurring arrives at an apartment where neighbours have complained about the noise; Claudia opens the door. Earl asks Phil, his nurse, to contact his estranged son; the younger Partridge now uses the name Frank Mackey...

    - Written by David Woodfield
  • The film begins with a narrator telling us three separate stories based on the theme of coincidence. From there, we meet 9 characters whose lives are all connected in one way or another. We follow them all over the course of one day and watch their lives change forever.

    - Written by John Reeler
  • An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

    - Written by Sean C.


In the opening prologue, a narrator goes over three events of incredible coincidence: 1) Sir Edmund William Godfrey...

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