Monday, April 7, 2014


Movie Name: Magnolia
Year of Release: 1999
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Melora Walters, Melinda Dillon, Alfred Molina, Jason Robards, Jeremy Blackman, Philip Baker Hall, Michael Murphy, Felicity Huffman, Ricky Jay, Michael Bowen
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 10

Paul Thomas Anderson's third feature, which premiered in December of 1999, proved that his previous directorial efforts, "Hard Eight" and "Boogie Nights", were not random successes, but the result of a phenomenal talent. "Magnolia" weaves a mosaic story of intertwined characters, starting with a young boy who's a prodigy, being exploited by his father in a televised talk show. The host of that show, is a soon to be retired popular entertainer, whose daughter has drug related problems. In parallel we witness the day of a new age cult, whose life is turned upside down, when he receives a phone call from a nurse, who's taking care of a dying man, who believes him to be his estranged son. The microcosms of this universe, keeps expanding with surrounding characters, which climax in a cathartic evening for all.
Paul Thomas Anderson creates with "Magnolia" a film that is perfect from all angles. Each character has an arc that creates a tangent with all the others in unexpected ways. The characters have a dimension, they are embodied with depth and resonance, and midway throughout the story, there's an event, that further elevates the sense of unity and connection that permeates the entire film. This feature has moments of sheer cinema pleasure - not just from an aesthetic perspective, but from the belief that film, as an art form, has the power to change someones perspective. The acting is uniformly superb, from Tom Cruise, to Philip Seymour Hoffman and of course, the wondrous Julianne Moore. This is a modern classic, worth watching countless times, and savor the beautiful soundtrack from Aimee Mann. Perfect.