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Magnolia (1999)

Cast: Jason Robards, Jr., Jason Robards, Jr., Julianne Moore, more...
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Drama, Independent
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson followed his critical and commercial breakthrough Boogie Nights with this wildly ambitious story of lives intertwining on a single day in California's San Fernando Valley. Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), a successful producer of television game shows, left his wife when she contracted cancer to marry the younger and more beautiful Linda (Julianne Moore). Now, Earl has cancer himself, and Linda spends her day fetching medicines and trying to deal with the imminent death of her husband, whom she has only now come to love. Earl asks his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to arrange a meeting with his estranged son, Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), known for his self-help program "Seduce and Destroy," in which he preaches the importance of male sexual prowess; he cared for his mother after Earl left her, and he has no desire to see his father again. Earl's best-known show is hosted by Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), who also learns that he is dying. Jimmy's show pits bright adults against unusually smart kids; one of Jimmy's child contestants, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman), arrives late for a taping after being left stranded by his father Rick (Michael Bowen), who is supported by his more successful son. Meanwhile, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), who was a champ on Jimmy's show as a child, is not having as much luck as an adult; he's just lost his job and needs to pay for some expensive dental work. Jimmy wants to reconcile with his estranged and emotionally fragile daughter Claudia (Melora Walters), who despises him and who will become involved with well-meaning police officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), who has been desperately lonely since his divorce three years ago. Magnolia reunites much of the cast and crew of Boogie Nights and features eight original songs by singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and a musical score by Jon Brion. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Please note that this disc contains the movie. If you'd like to see the bonus disc, please rent Magnolia: Bonus Disc.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Magnolia (1999)
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7.44 (611 votes)
Magnolia (Bonus Disc) (1999)
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7.22 (50 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

What a headache by thingstodo March 7, 2006 - 11:26 AM PST
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
If you got a headache reading the synopsis, let me warn you that it's actually as simple as it can be done.

This film is very confusing at the time of viewing. As is the trend nowadays, there are parallel stories involving more characters than you can keep track of. It's as if in our relentless quest to find a bargain nowadays we only feel we got our money's worth by multitasking and watching multiple stories in one sitting. Hopefully, the fad will die out in a couple of years.

Then there's the "music." This film has the characters going through what are already chaotic moments and THEN superimpose on top of that a song played way too loud. (Imagine playing Beethoven's 9th on your stereo when watching E.R.) And that was just the first 10 minutes. I'd like to rewatch a movie because I want to reexperience it, not because I have to because I was confused the first time around.

All this dies down, fortunately, towards the middle of the movie, when things get a little calmer. There is one segment when it turns into a kind of a musical which I found pretty interesting. Reminds me a bit of Woody Allen's "Everybody says I love you," except this one is a downer.

I suppose the movie is about consequences. As we follow each character trying to survive in the dreadful miserable lives the story puts them in, we are reminded of how we should pause and consider how our thoughtless pursuits of self-fulfillment in a chaotic world affect and hurt other people.

Frogs? by sarahmreed February 22, 2005 - 11:21 AM PST
0 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I have no damned clue what was up with the frogs.

A truly amazing film... by larbeck July 17, 2003 - 11:06 AM PDT
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
...with some great, great performances. And if you happen to be one who does not like Tom Cruise, this *is* the Tom Cruise movie for you! He is so hateable, so sleazy, you will love hating him, yet at towards the end... well, I do not want to give it away but he probably gives the best performance of his life in this film.

A truly unique story, unique film.

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