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Reviews & Ratings for
Magnolia More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Films like this makes us appreciate the smaller things in life

Author: Keithtopher Lim ( from Winnipeg, Manitoba
17 October 2000

Wow! When I first rented this movie and saw the length of the film to be a little over 3 hours, I thought it would be a waste of a good 3 hours of studying time. I had to return it 4 hours later at Blockbuster and I thought...what the hell, I want to see why there was so much fuss about this movie. After about an hour into the film, I noticed that there was no absolute plot leading the story into any foreseeable direction. No plot, no point, I loved it. I've never seen a film with so much force and the pacing was absolutely astounding. The story was filled with little vignettes and constantly jumped from one scenario to another scenario with such a smooth transition that I was in movie heaven. I loved the 3 hours spent on this great movie. Definitely an art piece that people should not miss.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

And when it rains, it pours...

Author: Artimidor Federkiel from Austria
7 August 2012

Here's a film to be enjoyed on multiple levels, and the good thing is: It's entirely up to you what you want to make of it. "Magnolia" is an entry in the nowadays growing category of "hypertext movies" with no single protagonist, a film where all plots are somehow connected, interlinked and one action has an impact on another story, subtle or major, and vice versa, and so it goes with every single one of them. The result is a mosaic-like puzzle where everything forms a strange whole, patched together by the almighty power of coincidence. That is, if you want to see it that way. If you're a believer in fate you might get a very different view, or even start wondering whether it might even make sense to consider these two principles to be synonymous.

There's more than just events that are linked in a 24 hours time span. One of them is the great music to be enjoyed by Aimee Mann, setting the mood, creating the links, enhancing the outstanding photography. The single stories are all worth telling, they are quirky, funny, emotional, touching, well acted and adequately paced, and make the three hours of the film's length fly by in no time. You will also find an apparent theme about parents and children, about the past that isn't through with us, even though we'd like to get rid of it, and how it all seems to come together in a storm of metaphysical epiphany, or absurdity - up to you. Heed the trailer that "warns" us, though: And when it rains, it pours... "Magnolia" has the potential to morph in front of the viewer's eye with each viewing, enriching the experience, as there are enough different aspects that demand new attention. Recommendation for first time watchers: Don't look for the big message. Just expect the unexpected.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Another special film from Paul Thomas Anderson

Author: runamokprods from US
9 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even braver and deeper emotionally than Paul Thomas Anderson's wonderful 'Boogie Nights', and in some ways a more mature, if less blazingly dynamic work. Full of amazing shots, amazing performances. The film 'Short Cuts' wanted to be.

That said there are a few flaws. The biblical ending doesn't quite work for me. I appreciate the ideas behind it, but it's an ending that's less emotional for me than the film that proceeded it. And a few moments of irony are forced. That was true in 'Boogie Nights' too, but because that film had a lighter, more self-mocking touch, even the heavy handed moments didn't stick out.

None-the-less, this is a must see film, overflowing with great performances, unconventional storytelling, heartbreaking moments, and an honest look at where we are and who we are as a society.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Cracking Up in the World of PTA

Author: evanston_dad from United States
29 June 2010

Paul Thomas Anderson followed up the dazzlingly audacious "Boogie Nights" (1997) with the even more (if possible) audacious saga of emotional meltdowns over one dark night in L.A. in "Magnolia," and left people scratching their heads.

There's an awful lot going on in this movie all the time, and I can see how it would be a turn off for some. I was utterly engrossed by it, so much so that I went back to see it again and sat mesmerized by it a second time. Anderson has one big hairy set of bull balls to make a 3+ hour epic full of dark soliloquies, death, disease and an impromptu musical number performed by the entire cast, sustain an emotional tone as tightly strained as a piano wire for almost the entire film's length, and then cap the whole thing off with a rain of frogs.

"Magnolia" isn't the most disciplined film ever made, and Anderson's film-making hysteria sometimes runs away with his stories, but it sure is one endlessly fascinating piece of work. Anderson has matured greatly over the years -- "There Will Be Blood" was far more restrained and controlled than any of his previous movies. But in every movie he makes, you can see the mad genius behind the scenes, and I can't wait to see what he's going to do next.

Grade: A

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A touching film with some incredible performances

Author: Kevin Marshall from Seattle
2 February 2002

Judging from the comments archive, I can see why this film polarizes its audiences as much as it does. This film defies convention in all possible senses--characterization, dialogue, narrative structure, heck, even the introduction. To be honest, this movie is truly strange. But that doesn't necessarily make it bad. Quite the contrary, actually. In my opinion this is one of the best movies I've seen. The acting was superb, and the performance I got from Tom Cruise was surprising to say the least. I don't expect much from him other than crocodile tears and beaming that thick smile, but here he credibly displayed a wide range of emotions. The photography was excellent, the pacing was quick (despite the 3:15 runtime!), and the structure! the best thing about it. Although the movie does dwell on a very central theme--the price and necessity of salvation--much of the movie is left undone, as raw material for thinking about later, as if the characters just keep on living. As I said, it's not your standard movie fare. But don't dismiss it for what lies most visably on the surface; instead, sit through the movie, soak it in, and when it's done, turn out the lights and think about it for a while. You'll be glad you did.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Anderson's Emotional Tour-De-Force Blooms Brilliantly

Author: Josh ( from Los Angeles, CA
8 October 2000

PT Anderson's sprawling character epic is nothing short of brilliant, eviscerating the lives of a vast array of tortured souls in the San Fernando Valley.

Magnolia presents to us the seemingly totally different, separate lives of twelve people having quite a trying and tumultuous day. There's a dying TV mogul (Jason Robards), his estranged son turned sex empowerment spokesman (Tom Cruise), Robard's devastated, guilt-ridden wife (Julianne Moore), Robard's nurse/caretaker (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a dying TV quiz show host (Phillip Baker Hall), his estranged, drug-addled daughter (Melora Waters), the game show host's worrisome wife (Melinda Dillon), a brilliant quiz kid on Hall's show (Jeremy Blackman), and his overbearing father (Michael Bowen), an ex-quiz kid now living in shambles (William H Macy), a well-meaning, prudish officer (John C Reilly), and a rapping street kid (Emmanuel Johnson). Their lives intersect either directly or briefly as they give confessions, show forgiveness, come to terms, and ultimately are given redemption.

As convoluted and confusing the amount and relationships and the characters may sound, Anderson skillfully balances them all and fleshes them out, making them three dimensional characters that the viewer cares about. With so many characters, one would imagine some of them are filler, throw away roles - but in reality, all of them impact the viewer and prove to be an integral part to the entire film.

Performances in Magnolia run the gamut from poignant to heartfelt to astounding to subtle to powerful to nothing short of brilliant. Though all performances are great, there are a few that stand out: William H. Macy, as always, gives a beautiful performance as the ex-quiz kid who goes to absurd lengths to find love. Jeremy Blackman's overachieving, unloved quiz kid is also heart-wrenchingly well portrayed. Phillip Baker Hall's seemingly wholesome game show host who himself cannot answer any questions is expertly and poignantly drawn. The real treat, however, is Tom Cruise (yes, his role is as well done as it's been touted) as the cool, hyped up sex guru who is slowly deconstructed by his past.

There is so much to enjoy about Magnolia, besides it's well-written, provocative characters: the film's cinematography is so beautifully rendered that the camera seems to be working on it's own, weaving seamlessly through hallways and long shots without any cuts. It seems to reach into the characters and pull out all their vulnerabilities for the audience to see. Aimee Mann's haunting songs also add a potent touch of misery and darkness to the already unsettling script.

From it's overwhelming opening set-up accompanied by the miserable tune "One" to it's Biblical ending, it's an emotional epic that plunges the viewer into the depths of its character's personal hells and shows that closure and redemption can be a painful but ultimately necessary part of life.

Easily one of 1999's best, most ambitious films, and ranking in my top 10 of all time, Magnolia is an emotional tour-de-force that touts a great ensemble cast, a beautifully written script, stylish camera work, and a great soundtrack. The ending is a shocking, memorable one as well, and proves that PT Anderson is a brilliant, formidable filmmaking force be dealt with.

10 out of 10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The most emotional movie ive ever Seen

Author: highheadblues77
18 September 2000

From the first five minuts of this movie i knew i was in for something strange, something unique, something different. What i got was a powerful movie that forced me to think and just be drawn into a world unlike any other ive seen. The human element was so real it was scary. When the dying man confessed his life to his nurse i almost had to turn it off and pull myself back together. It wasnt that long ago i lost my mother to cancer and the reality of this man lying is his death bed was so powerful, so brilliantly horrific, i was in tears. The story of his, at first money hungry, druged up, guilt ridden, wife was painfully beautiful. When she goes to get some prescripitions only to have the clerks stare and probe into as why someone would need such things evoked a sence of privacy being violated for someone who deserves no sympathy yet screams at you for help. Tom Cruise's character as the idealistic ID of a man's personality to the infinite power was brave and unabashed. Him lying by his fathers side, a man who deserted him and his dying mother, a man who he had not seen in years, a man who's dying wish was to see his son, was played with such raw emotion its a wonder why these two people were not givin some kind of reward for there acting. We get the story of a whiz kid quiz show star and a story of a former whiz kid quiz show star where the former is so fed up with having to do everything and being the smart one and dealing with his overcrazed father while the latter cant shake the shadows of his former "fame" and just cant do anything with his life. This man was disturbing, all he wanted to do was love. He just wanted to love someone, anyone, anything, because he didnt love himself enough to move on from his past.....ahhh the past...a subject so defined in this film. Some poeple are able to move through life and things either fall into place all nice and cozy or there little speed bumps dont affect them. Yet there are many out there who cant get through the past. cant understand why they may have done certain things and are left with the guilt of there "sins" and it runs them into the ground day after day after day. No one said life was easy and certainly there is no handbook. we all should know right and wrong but once you cross that line is there anyway to come back? that is what this movie is asking. and like life there is no answer. we just dont know.

Now the sing a long that has got everyone's attention was perfect in my eyes. at the time of the story to see something you really never seen before with so much meaning was amazing. Mann's song rang through my ears like few others have before. And the not a religous person...i understand this came from the bible...its exact meaning i do not know. but as the movie tells you all along regret is blatantly hard.

i give this movie, film, story, personal page out of life, what ever you want to call it, a 10.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Reach Exceeding Grasp

Author: Mr Blue-4 from Los Angeles, CA
11 December 1999

Boy, I was hoping for great things from this film. And I got them. However, it was a bunch of great things, as opposed to a great whole movie.

This movie is ambitous. REALLY ambitous. It attempts more in one of its storylines than most movies. So it feels a bit churlish to nitpick. However, I feel this:"Boogie Nights" was a smaller film with greater focus. "Magnolia" is larger with higher highs, but less overall success.

The film never tops the first 20 minutes, probably the best single piece of filmmaking this year. After an introduction to three urban legends, "Magnolia" introduces itself. Basically this a crazy quilt of characters that all happen to be in the San Fernando Valley on one day. There are connections between them, though they all won't be connected in the end.

The cast meets their challenges head on. Philip Baker Hall is always good with P.T. Anderson, and here he does some great stuff. So does Jason Robards, John C. Reilly, Julliane Moore, William H. Macy, and the quiz show kid (sorry, missed the name). Tom Cruise? Some of his best acting. An (expected) Oscar nomination would not be out of place.

The photography is very varied, and some shots are just outstanding. Aimee Mann has been underappreciated as a songwriter:this film should change that, I hope.

My pet peeve is that in taking on so much, "Magnolia" has trouble delivering at the same level for everyone all through the whole film. Some stories become captivating, then lose steam. Some scenes are perplexing. Some characters become awfully hard to take. Other parts carry on too long (no small thing in a long movie). The end result, for me, is neither "perfect" or "masterpiece." Just damn good.

DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE:I have to say the sequence 2/3rds of the way into the movie where everyone starts singing the Aimee Mann song is genius. And the raining frogs are fantastic-best special effect of the year!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I am awe of it!

Author: Bidsness from India
21 December 2010

I wouldn't judge, I wouldn't write an essay. I'll just say, wonderful movie! But here the system requires me to give 10 lines of text at least. So there you go...a bit of gibberish here. I don't know what you conclude from something you are exposed to in situations like this. You just want to be silent and feel good. So many people from different zones of life come together to gift you this thing called...Magnolia. I am particularly in love with the sincerity of the mad coincidences. We love coincidences, don't we? They say it a lot of times but I so want to say it just once right now, do yourself a this. Its a movie that stays with you. Enjoy!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Amongst The Best Ever!

Author: nama chakravorty from India
3 July 2010

Some films are meant to be loved... or more so, some films are meant to be remembered and live-forever... Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Magnolia' caters to the latter. A Gem in Filmmmaking, A film that sucks you in like the legendary plant.

'Magnolia' interweaves nine separate yet connected story lines, about the interactions among several people during one day in the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles, California. It's a such fantastic film, that your glued to the screen from start to end. It's over 3 Hours in running time, yet this winner never bores. The characters, their ark in the goings-on left me awe-struck. 'Magnolia' makes you laugh when your suppose to, and cry when your suppose to. Paul Thomas Anderson's writing and direction, translate, into, his career's finest effort.

In this multi-starrer each actors scores, and here's a special mention to all of them: Tom Cruise is astounding and undoubtedly the guy who steals the show! The Iconic Actor of Cinema delivers a performance that leaves you stunned! John C. Reilly is excellent. Julianne Moore is splendid. Philip Seymour Hoffman is terrific. William H. Macy is superb. Melora Walters is fantastic. Philip Baker Hall delivers his careers finest performance. April Grace is decent. Late Jason Robards is effective.

'Magnolia' is a Masterpiece in each and every aspect. Two Big Thumbs Up! This is CINEMA at it's BEST!

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