Magnolia

"Very Good"

Magnolia Review


An intricate mosaic of emotional stories intertwined by coincidence, "Magnolia" is an elegant exposé of human frailty written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who demonstrated his gift for burrowing under his characters' skins in 1997's melancholy porn industry soap opera "Boogie Nights."

He's honed that skill in the last two years, and his new multi-narrative, which features many of the same actors, is stunning and magnetic in its ability to tie you impulsively to even the most wretched of characters.

"Magnolia" takes place over the course of a single, unusually stormy (on a mythological scale) day in the San Fernando Valley and meditates on the complexities of family, and on the facades people put up to mask their insecurities, their grudges, greed and regret, their love, their selfishness and other symptoms of the human condition.

Jason Robards plays a dying rich man, painfully estranged from his rageful, resentful son, Tom Cruise. Cruise is astoundingly powerful as a vulgar, misogynistic, wildly egotistical motivational speaker who teaches emasculated men how to dominate and manipulate women.

Julianne Moore plays Robards' young wife, whose regrets about marrying for money have eaten away at her soul, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is his compassionate nurse who tries to reach Cruise to mend fences before it's too late.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Blackman is the brainy champ of a kiddie quiz show (featuring amusingly impossible questions) whose imposing stage father (Michael Bowen) has pressured him to the edge of manic neurosis. (A parallel track follows William H. Macy -- totally in his element -- as a mousy, miserable home furnishings salesman who clings desperately to his faded identity as the program's first star player some 35 years before.)

The quiz show host (Philip Baker Hall) is another ailing father trying to patch things up with his twittering, seething, cocaine-addicted daughter (Melora Walters), who in turn sees her chance for salvation in a kindly, insecure cop (John C. Reilly) who asks her out after taking a call about her loud stereo.

Each of these stories has such depth and scope they could easily be movies unto themselves -- especially with these across-the-board incredible performances that give the sense of these characters' entire lives. Anderson's dedication and skill at weaving them together with correlation and coincidence cannot be underestimated. He has this innate ability to turn everyday feelings of doubt, anxiety and ego into completely engrossing cinematic moments.

"Magnolia" has a beautiful, richly dark visual atmosphere that enfolds its characters and, as with "Boogie," Anderson's technique has a definite Scorsese bent to it. But you can't really fault the guy for taking his cues from one of the best, and the picture is otherwise entirely his own, as he demonstrates his rapt dedication to his stories -- and to his characters bulldozed by their emotions -- with rich details that bring an extra dimension of truthfulness to his film.

Cruise's performance is the most obvious example, as actor and director conspire successfully to garner our empathy for this loathsome, venomous egoist, even as we continue, by design, to despise him.

"Magnolia" is a potent work of concentrated humanity and a definite do-not-miss.



Magnolia

Facts and Figures

Run time: 188 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th January 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $48.5M

Budget: $37M

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: Ghoulardi Film Company, The Magnolia Project, New Line Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 118 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Linda Partridge, William H. Macy as Donnie Smith, John C. Reilly as Jim Kurring, as Frank T.J. Mackey, as Jimmy Gator, as Phil Parma, as Earl Partridge, as Solomon Solomon, as Claudia Wilson Gator, as Rick Spector, as Stanley Spector, as Dixon, as Rose Gator, as Gwenovier, as Cynthia, as Worm, as Narrator/Burt Ramsey, as Delmer Darion, as Stanley Berry, as Thurston Howell, as Faye Barringer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.