Several times I have been asked...what the f#*k is this movie about? I don't get it. Paul Thomas Anderson is not a filmmaker who thinks linear and my guess would be that if you are looking for a straightforward beginning, middle and end all wrapped up kind of thing, then don't watch Magnolia. It will piss you off. Transformers and the latest Die Hard movie piss me off...so there.
It opens with a narration about a series of events that supposedly happened in the past that have some rather strange coincidences in them and then asks the viewer if all these events could possibly be just dumb luck? There you go.
I have no answers for Magnolia and what it all means. I only have an idea of what I took out of it and what it was like watching it. You will form your own opinions and that is the point. Magnolia for me, is a movie about a group of people who are connected in some cosmic or biblical way...or whatever, who are raging about who they are, where they are and dealing with all ugly warts and shortcomings that we have. We can be selfish, mean and ruthless, lost in our despair and damaged by the people in our lives; unable to forgive it seems. Pretty grim right?…not so fast.
There is hope where there is despair. Love grows when there wasn't any. Are there signs that we are all missing? Is redemption possible? So much of Magnolia is subjective and that is truly the beauty of Anderson’s film; he fills it with so much. Sad and lost souls abound in LA: a lonely cop Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), a dying TV producer Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), his estranged son Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise), his cheating distraught young wife Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore), the sympathetic nurse who cares for him Phil Parma (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a TV game show host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall, also dying),his drugged out daughter Claudia Wilson (Melora Walters), a young kid on that same game show who's Dad pushes him way too hard Stanley Spector ( Jeremy Blackman) and a poor schmuck ex child star of that same game show Donnie Smith (William H Macy), who's celebrity status he has squeezed out all that he can get. All of these people and there stories will intersect in some way throughout the film.All of the acting is first rate and they give it there all with this heavy subject matter.
Several themes in the film are repeated; The abused or neglected child, now damaged and dealing with the parents and all emotional consequences.At one point in the film, a boy wakes his dad and tells him he has to start being nicer to him.Much of the film focuses on a game show where kids compete with adults. We see the inner workings of the show, the fame and money hungry parents in the background, pushing their children to do better. We see the lonely cop (Reilly),making a call to an apartment because of loud music, only to find the befuddled drug addict (Walters), who he then asks her out on a date. I must point out Tom Cruise’s performance in this movie. as he is outstanding as the self help for men stud, Frankie Mackie. It is a balls to the wall, angry performance and Cruise nails it. His anger fuels a big part of the movie and his emotional release to his dying father is powerful.
How Anderson pulls all this together, with an absolutely brilliant score that is crucial and great songs by Aimee Mann, that have the
cast at one point singing the words to, is admirable in it's scope.This is a grand bowl of creative soup being served here and there has been much talk of the ending also over the years....what does it mean? Is the end coming soon? Are we all doomed or are we getting a knock on our front door from some greater force?
watch the trailer:http://youtu.be/KnamcFv_N9Q