"I'll tell you the greatest regret of my life: I let my love go."
MAGNOLIA (R, 1999)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
P.T. Anderson's Magnolia is easy to watch and difficult to define or describe.
Anderson writes and directs with unprecedented skill and energy, creating a film with a running time of 188 minutes that feels less than half of that.
The direction is kinetic, and the screenplay.... The screenplay is something else.
The film deals with several people in Los Angeles on one day, the way they interact and live their lives. They each have various issues and dilemmas, and the film explores how they react to them.
It's rare for a film to contain so much character development. Every single one of them is important and layered, and in turn, the film has so many different levels of emotion.
The film tells tales of estranged fathers, pressured children, self-worth, guilt, age, judgment, fate, mortality, and love.
Magnolia is a completely flooring experience. Every frame is involving and immersive.
The performers, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeremy Blackman, John C. Reilly, Ricky Jay, Philip Baker Hall, Jason Robards, Melora Walters, and Melinda Dillon, are all excellent, but the performances seem small in contrast to how amazing the whole experience is.
Either way, the performers are fantastic and layered. The actors evolve easily, sometimes in the course of one scene.
Magnolia implies that there is a much greater meaning in this world, yet it also ruminates on our individual significance in the world.
As Magnolia keeps going, it only increases in power and elegance. It's uncommon for a film of this size to feel so intimate, but Anderson pulls it off with grace.
Magnolia is one of the most unique film experiences out there, without a doubt. Its fantastic blend of themes, characters, and wry humor make for a film that stays with you long after the credits roll.
Magnolia contains a scene in which all of the characters sing Aimee Mann's "Wise Up", and not for a second does it feel weird or out of place. That is how well Anderson directs this film.