Friday, June 3, 2016


Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson's third feature film and has the daring of an expert in the field. Anderson once again utilizes a Robert Altmanesque structure, though this time even looser than Boogie Nights as there is no defined lead, and no story is explicitly more important than the other. There are connections though through the pivotal theme of impossible coincidence, which is stated in the brilliant opening scene about three strange stories that were said to be all a matter of chance. This sets up the final connection based around an occurrence that seems supernatural, but is natural though again is just a matter of chance, slim chance. That final element of the film was particularly divisive for the film when it came out it seems less so now. That is only the structure, an intriguing and compelling structure yet only the structure that enables for a variety of very human stories about various different though usually desperate people living through difficult moments in their lives. Anderson once again weaves through just about flawlessly a variety of tones within this idea and never allows the film to collapse despite taking some severe risks in regards to the tone. Now, unlike Boogie Nights, there is one story I find less compelling than the rest due to a overwrought performance however I don't think that single performance is enough to weigh down film more than just keeping the film from perfection. Anderson still tries to roll the Hard Eight and succeeds in the gamble. That success is another testament to his talent, but the gamble itself is the mark of a one of a kind filmmaker.


Giuseppe Fadda said...

I adore this movie and I even like Julianne Moore's performance. It's very over-the-top though and I can see why you didn't like it.

Calvin Law said...

His masterpiece. Truly one of the greatest films of all-time.