Magnolia Screen 8 articles



Magnolia Poster
  • The script’s games of doubling . . . reflect an active conceptual intelligence, but at times Magnolia feels like a baggy omnibus made by filmmakers of wildly varying levels of talent. The handling of the botched attempted suicide by stricken game-show host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), after facing accusations of molesting his own daughter, is particularly maladroit, as Anderson recoils from the implications of his own material.

  • The apogee of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scorsese derivation period, insofar as it apes the aesthetic without adding much of an identity (the way Boogie Nights does). PSH is heartbreaking, of course, but that scene is such saccharine bullshit, and the fact that he elicits any kind of emotional reaction is a testament to his skills more than anything else.

  • A wonderful mess. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s third feature (1999), over three hours long, represents a quantum leap in ambition from Hard Eight and Boogie Nights and is much more interesting, though he’s no longer in full command of everything he’s trying to do.

  • The cynicism and irresolution of SHORT CUTS is ultimately replaced in MAGNOLIA by an epiphanic clarity and optimism. Anderson further imitates Altman's style by employing music as a theme. Instead of using the improvisational mode of jazz, Anderson plays with the operatic form, splitting his film in to three separate acts. Stylistically, Anderson works in the idiom of Scorsese and Renoir, using fluid long takes that emphasize the interconnected nature of his characters.

  • Anderson's meandering multi-story megasoap with a message is over-ambitious, self-conscious, self-indulgent, self-important and clumsy into the bargain. But it's also one of the most enthralling and exhilarating American movies in ages.

  • Magnolia is a real departure from supposed mainstream “entertainment,” a film that’s both challenging and deeply disturbing. Magnolia is a sprawling and operatic music video that interweaves so many characters, complex plots, and an ever-present sense of heightened melodrama, so that the viewer looks in vain for any element that holds the movie together.

  • I saw Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia when it was first released in 1999, and the film blew me away. From the minute the movie opened in its glorious and sprawling 35 mm print, I knew I was seeing something that felt new, but was also somehow universal and timeless. The film didn’t just blow me away with its sheer unapologetic excess of emotion –Magnolia practically bleeds tears – but also with its grandiose scale on all levels.

  • Watching an Operating Thetan hold his own within a rogue’s gallery of deeply sympathetic fuck-ups—a wizened Philip Baker Hall, the ever-tender Philip Seymour Hoffman, and uber-schmuck John C. Reilly, to name a few - is akin to cinematic bird-watching. You feel as though you’ve caught some rare creature, alighting for a moment before disappearing into the clouds.

More Links