Interesting movie. I found I had to really pay attention in the first section as there are so many characters introduced, and names thrown about. But after the 3 hours is up you get to know each person's story intimately.
This movie won some award for best ensemble cast, and that was a good call. Because every actor/actress was great in their own way. Tom Cruise wasn't any better or worse than the rest. Julianne Moore was great as someone manically-depressed (Linda). The heroin girl (Claudia) was really good too, in portraying her jumpy symptoms (it was quite funny when frogs dropped behind her). Jimmy played a great game show host (he had the voice for it).
Movie got intense towards the 3rd quarter.
I don't really see the point of the frogs, except that it shows how every person dealt with the same situation (just like how everyone has to deal with rain wherever they are). But this was already done when they were all singing that Aimee song. The frog scene reminded me of From Dusk Till Dawn, when the movie is going along normally, and then Vampires appear out of nowhere. So for me the frogs detracted from me. The "what the fuck" value was good, but only for a minute.
So it wasn't until the end I realised there is no real climax to the movie really. It's more of an allegory of how people intract with other people's lives serendipitously or otherwise, and how "the past affects the present." This is a good and bad thing. Good that not many movies just "tell a story." But also bad in that each mini-story in itself, was not really that poignant; while the characters had flaws and could be considered slightly dysfunctional, there were not too many extremes of emotion to be felt; though Jimmy getting sick on air, and Linda in the pharmacy was exceptions.
So having said all that, while I may have been giving this movie a negative slant, I thought this was a mesmerising/captivating movie. I love watching a movie knowing nothing about the movie at all and not having seen any previews. And this is how I saw this. So for me it was one great mystery, the whole 3 hours+ (even though the prologue gives the hint).
Paul Andersen wrote and directed this. I have not seen Boogie Nights, and had never heard of him before. But the fact he wrote the script AND directed, I think is why the movie came out so well -- is agreeable with my theory of synergy, that movies where someone scriptwrites/directs, directs/acts etc. makes it a better film.
Oh and this movie reminded me of Happiness (1998) and American Beauty (1999).
>>By ftad (Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 17:27)
In responses to some other posts:
Yeah I found the rap kid hard to understand too.
I thought it's called Magnolia because each petal is different, just like each character in the film. But just as all the petals are connected to the one flower, so too are the people in the film interconnected.
Aimee Mann sings that song which is a good one. When the song ended with something about "giving up" I thought someone was going to commit suicide for sure. But they didn't
Maybe Mackey became who he was as a form of self-deprication. And perhaps as an eye for an eye thing. Since his dad screwed around and hurt people, including him, he decided because to inflict the same pain he went through on others. I detect that he loathes himself or at least his past (that's why he hid it), so he is deliberately being ironic or rebellious, in having supported his sick mum until death - now deciding to do the exact opposite, and opposite of one would expect.
And yes I forgot to mention forgiveness, as mentioning in the closing narrative, as one of the main themes of the movie.
>>By ftad (Wednesday, 19 Jan 2005 17:54)
scouser_tommy- The cop forgives the Julianne Moore character, (by visiting her in the hospital after her attempted suicide- you have to catch the color of his shirt, since his face isn't shown)who has turned out to be his ex-wife who left him several years before for the rich guy, Jason Robards. (sorry I can't keep the characters' movie names straight-had to return the DVD. )
One unresolved loose end for me- it seems that almost everyone was on both sides of the equation of hurting someone/hurt by someone, yet we don't find out why the new Whiz Kids's dad is so obsessed with driving his son so cruelly. Money, yeah, but it seems like there's an untold story there. I guess there's only room for so many.
The interpretation of the title has provided a lot of interesting and insightful discussion here. The angle of a magnolia being so easily bruised is a good one- it ties strongly into the old saying:
" Forgiveness is the scent of a rose on the heel that cruched it."
>>By resealable (Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 01:03)
sorry- that last line was supposed to read:
"Forgiveness is the scent of a rose on the heel of the shoe that crushed it."
Further thoughts: the nurse character seemed to be independently saintly- outside of the abuse loop. The actor also played a somewhat saintly character in "State and Main." At least he summons the moral courage to redeem himself at the end. The two movies also had some other cast members in common.
It was cool to see Henry Gibson in his cameo as the genteel old drunk in Macy's barroom scene. Gibson also played the very unpleasant country music star in "Nashville."
>>By resealable (Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 01:30)
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