Magnolia

(1999)

Genres: Drama

Movies That Made Us Critics: Magnolia

Transcript for Movies That Made Us Critics: Magnolia

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
My next choice is MAGNOLIA, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s three-hour epic of intertwined lives over one day in Los Angeles.  Anderson sets his film in the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up, and despite the bleak realism he depicts, Anderson infuses a surreal undercurrent that grows as the film builds to a crescendo.   He follows nine characters, with an excellent cast including William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore and John C. Reilly.  He seamlessly eaves their lives together, including a game show whiz kid, a nerdy L.A. police officer, and a skittish coke addict.

CLIP from MAGNOLIA

CHRISTY:
Tom Cruise does the best work of his career in MAGNOLIA, as a cocky self-help guru whose confidence is seemingly impenetrable.  

CLIP from MAGNOLIA

CHRISTY: 
Anderson masterfully orchestrates the meltdowns and epiphanies with a propulsive, fluid energy, with Aimee Mann’s original songs poignantly commenting on the action.

CLIP from MAGNOLIA

CHRISTY:
And then, of course, frogs rain from the sky.  You’re either going to go with it, or you’re not.  I went with it.

CLIP from MAGNOLIA

CHRISTY:
Now, I saw MAGNOLIA when I was just staring out as a critic in 1999, and I found it really polarizing.  People were either wowed by it, like I was, or they thought it was over-long and pretentious.  It’s one of the first films that forced me to stand my ground, and here I stand today.