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
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
Neil Flynn is credited as Stanley Berry, but in the film, Flynn is seen when the narrator says, "Daniel Hill." 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 »
In the script, there is an alternate storyline for Stanley. In it, instead of running to the school library where he reads the books about the geniuses, he runs away to a coffee shop. Also in the coffee shop are Dixon (the little boy who raps for Jim Curring) and the Worm (who is mentioned in the movie, both in the rap and during Marcie's interrogation). The Worm (who is Dixon's father) notices Stanley and motions for Dixon to leave. At this point, Dixon finds Linda passed out in her car. In the coffee shop, the Worm and Stanley talk about their fathers and Stanley offers to give the Worm the money he won on the game show. The frogs begin to fall from the sky as Dixon runs in, asks the Worm if he got the money from Stanley, then pulls a gun (the one which he stole from Jim Kurring) on Stanley, demanding his money. The Worm convinces Dixon to give the gun up. They leave the diner after the frogs fall, drive by Solomon and Solomon, and throw the gun from their speeding car, which lands by Jim and Donnie. From the DVD documentary, it seems like this scene was partially filmed and then PT Anderson decided to scrap it. 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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