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Review Written by: Vic Dalow
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: R (for language, sexual content and brief violence)

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by: Paul Thomas Anderson and Joanne Sellar
Starring: Jason Robards, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise, John C. Reilly, Philip Baker Hall, Melora Walters, Julianne Moore
Studio: New Line Cinema

Out of the countless movies that I have seen, out of all the classics and out of all the legendary Academy Award winning films, Magnolia is by far superior to all of them. Moreso in the sense that the movie takes some risks and breaks a concrete wall in doing so. While having almost no similarity to your modern typical Hollywood flick, Magnolia reaches beyond its predecessors and grabs hold of uniqueness that our eyes just weren't ready for. While many find Magnolia to be a little too much or just plain confusing, that's what really captured my attention. It's the plain subject matter and colliding sets of subplots that I found so daring and interesting. The constant reference to Exodus 8:2 is a reoccurring theme throughout the movie and as one becomes more aware of it, the more they begin to find the movie less confusing.

Magnolia tells the story of nine different people who are coincidentally all connected. It deals with chance, hope, luck and how the past and future may affect our present. The focus is on children and their parents, which is blatantly showed on a more trivial scene where a child (the Prophet figure) is on a kids show called "What do Kids Know." The movie's incredible colliding collage of stories works well to prepare the audience for the inevitable: everything is a reflection of something else. We all have a mirror image inside us, and no matter what we do there is a constant parallel to that action. Though the movie takes place in one day, the set of juxtaposed story lines help to explore the characters deeply. We see the young (Stanley, Dixon and perhaps Claudia and Frank) sharing a common theme of having self-actualization, while the older (Linda, Donnie, Jim, Phil, Earl and Rick) show independence and a unique quality to present themselves as superior.

I first saw Magnolia about a year and a half ago. I think my first impression was that this is definitely not a movie for anyone, but those who enjoy a good deep intellectual screenplay will fall in love. The more I explored the themes and analysed the movie, the more I saw myself in it, and the more I was influenced. PT Anderson delivers what I call a 'Quentin'. His first movie Boogie Nights was a cult movie that not only raised some eyebrows but made a somewhat typical genre into a masterpiece. Then the unexpected happened and PT Anderson wrote a screenplay for yet another movie which would knock the socks off critics' feet.

It's a shame Hollywood and modern America doesn't recognize such creativity and originality. Magnolia forces us to open up our minds and think about what we are watching, instead of constantly being fed mindless eye-candy. We all want something new and Magnolia reaches to that maximum point... and goes further. I am not a person who normally forces people to watch something I'd particularly like, but Magnolia is a movie that everyone should see. It's THE movie of all movies and it manipulates our thoughts about the world and the way in which we think. I always try to encourage my friends to see this beautiful, flawless piece of art and although many have been reluctant to see it, my guess is that the movie is just too good for them!

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays one of the many characters of Magnolia.
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