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Magnolia (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Magnolia
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Thomas Anderson
Written byPaul Thomas Anderson
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byDylan Tichenor
Music byJon Brion
Production
companies
Ghoulardi Film Company
JoAnne Sellar Productions
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17) (United States)
Running time
188 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$37 million
Box office$48.5 million

Magnolia is a 1999 American drama film written, directed and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars an ensemble cast, including Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards (in his final film role) and Melora Walters. The film is an epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. The script was inspired by the music of Aimee Mann, who contributed several songs to its soundtrack.

The film had a limited theatrical release in December 17, 1999, before expanding wide in January 7, 2000. Magnolia received positive reviews, with critics praising its acting (particularly Cruise's), direction, screenplay, storytelling, and its soundtrack, but some deemed it overlong and melodramatic, and has grossed $48.5 million against its $37 million budget. Of the ensemble cast, Cruise was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 72nd Academy Awards and won the award in that category at the Golden Globes.

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Transcription

Plot

Outline of the various characters in Magnolia and their relationships

Los Angeles police officer Jim Kurring investigates a disturbance at a woman's apartment, finding a body in a closet. Dixon, a neighborhood boy, unsuccessfully tries to tell him who committed the murder. Jim goes to the apartment of Claudia Wilson, whose neighbors called the police after she argued with her estranged father, Jimmy Gator, and blasted music while snorting cocaine. Seemingly oblivious, Jim asks her on a date.

Jimmy hosts a quiz show called What Do Kids Know? and is dying of cancer. The newest child prodigy on the show, Stanley Spector, is hounded by his father Rick for the prize money and demeaned by the adults, who prevent him from using the bathroom during a commercial break. When the show resumes, Stanley wets himself. As the show continues, a drunken Jimmy sickens, ordering the show to go on after he collapses. After Rick berates him, Stanley runs away.

Former What Do Kids Know? champion Donnie Smith, whose parents took all his prize money, has been fired from his job due to performance issues and is in love with a male bartender with braces. Donnie wants to get braces himself, thinking the bartender will love him back. He hatches a plan to steal the money from his former boss for the surgery.

The show's former producer, Earl Partridge, is also dying of cancer. Earl's trophy wife, Linda, collects his prescriptions while he is cared for by a nurse, Phil Parma. Earl asks Phil to find his estranged son, Frank Mackey, a motivational speaker and pickup artist. Frank is interviewed by a journalist who knows Frank took care of his dying mother after Earl left. Frank storms out of the interview, after which Phil tries to contact him.

Linda goes to see Earl's lawyer, hoping to change his will. She married Earl for the money, but now loves him and does not want it. The lawyer suggests she renounce the will and decline the money, which would go to Frank. Linda rejects his advice and berates Phil for seeking out Frank, but later apologizes. She drives to a vacant parking lot and attempts suicide by drug overdose. Dixon finds Linda near death in the car, takes the money from her purse, and calls an ambulance.

Jim loses his gun while trying to catch a suspect. When he meets Claudia, they promise to be honest with each other, so he confesses his ineptitude as a cop and admits he has not been on a date since he divorced three years earlier. Claudia says he will hate her because of her problems, but Jim assures her that her past does not matter. They kiss, but she leaves him.

Jimmy goes home to his wife, Rose, and confesses that he cheated on her. She asks why Claudia does not talk to him, and Jimmy admits that Claudia believes he molested her. Rose demands to know if it is true, but Jimmy says he cannot remember. Rose leaves him. Elsewhere, Donnie steals the money, but when he decides to return it, he cannot get back inside the office. While Donnie climbs a utility pole to the roof to try to return the money, Jim sees him and feels compelled to investigate.

Suddenly, frogs begin falling from the sky. One of them hits Donnie, and he falls from the pole and smashes his teeth. As Jimmy is about to kill himself, frogs fall through his skylight, causing him to shoot the television and cause a house fire. Rose crashes her car near Claudia's apartment but makes it inside and reconciles with her daughter. Earl is awakened and sees Frank beside him before dying. Linda's ambulance crashes near the hospital. Donnie is rescued by Jim, and Jim's lost gun falls from the sky.

Jim helps Donnie return the money. Frank goes to the hospital to be with Linda, who will recover. Stanley tells his father, Rick, that he needs to be nice to him, but Rick tells him to go to bed. Jim goes to see Claudia, telling her he wants to make things work between them. As Jim is explaining this, Claudia smiles.

Cast

Production

Development

Paul Thomas Anderson started to get ideas for Magnolia during the long editing period of Boogie Nights (1997).[2] As he got closer to finishing the film, he started writing down material for his new project.[3] After the critical and financial success of Boogie Nights, New Line Cinema, who backed that film, told Anderson that he could do whatever he wanted and Anderson realized that, "I was in a position I will never ever be in again."[4] Michael De Luca, then head of production at New Line Cinema, made the deal for Magnolia, granting Anderson final cut without hearing an idea for the film.[4][5] Originally, Anderson had wanted to make a film that was "intimate and small-scale,"[6] something that he could shoot in 30 days.[7] He had the title of "Magnolia" in his head before he wrote the script.[8]

As he started writing, the script "kept blossoming" and he realized that there were many actors he wanted to write for and then decided to put "an epic spin on topics that don't necessarily get the epic treatment".[6] He wanted to "make the epic, the all-time great San Fernando Valley movie".[8] Anderson started with lists of images, words and ideas that "start resolving themselves into sequences and shots and dialogue,"[6] actors, and music. The first image he had for the film was the smiling face of actress Melora Walters.[6] The next image that came to him was of Philip Baker Hall as her father. Anderson imagined Hall walking up the steps of Walters' apartment and having an intense confrontation with her.[9] Anderson also did research on the magnolia tree  and discovered a concept that eating the tree's bark helped cure cancer.[8]

Before Anderson became a filmmaker, one of the jobs he had was as an assistant for a television game show, Quiz Kid Challenge, an experience he incorporated into the script for Magnolia.[5] He also claimed in interviews that the film is structured somewhat like "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles, and "it kind of builds up, note by note, then drops or recedes, then builds again".[8]

Screenplay

By the time he started writing the script, Anderson was listening to the music of his friend Aimee Mann.[6] He used her first two solo albums and demo tracks for her upcoming third album, Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo, as a basis and inspiration;[10] he said he "sat down to write an adaptation of Aimee Mann songs".[11] In particular, Mann's song "Deathly" inspired the character of Claudia.[10] Claudia uses part of the lyric as dialogue in the film ("Now that I've met you / Would you object to / Never seeing each other again").[6] The film also features a sequence in which the characters sing along to Mann's song "Wise Up".[6]

The character of Jim Kurring originated in 1998, when John C. Reilly grew a moustache out of interest and started putting together an unintelligent cop character. He and Anderson did a few parodies of COPS with the director chasing Reilly around the streets with a video camera. Jennifer Jason Leigh made an appearance in one of these videos. Some of Kurring's dialogue came from these sessions.[6] This time around, Reilly wanted to do something different and told Anderson that he was "always cast as these heavies or these semi-retarded child men. Can't you give me something I can relate to, like falling in love with a girl?"[12] Anderson also wanted to make Reilly a romantic lead because it was something different that the actor had not done before.[6]

For Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anderson wanted him to play a "really simple, uncomplicated, caring character".[6] The actor described his character as someone who "really takes pride in the fact that every day he's dealing with life and death circumstances".[7] With Julianne Moore in mind, Anderson wrote a role for her to play a crazed character using many pharmaceuticals. According to the actress, "Linda doesn't know who she is or what she's feeling and can only try to explain it in the most vulgar terms possible".[13] Anderson said that Linda's story was inspired by his own father's wife.[14] For William H. Macy, Anderson felt that the actor was scared of big, emotional parts and wrote "a big tearful, emotional part" for him.[6]

While convincing Philip Baker Hall to do the film by explaining the significance of the rain of frogs, the actor told him a story about when he was in the mountains of Italy and got caught in bad weather—a mix of rain, snow and tiny frogs. Hall had to pull off the road until the storm passed.[15] According to an interview, Hall said that he based the character of Jimmy Gator on real-life TV personalities such as Bob Barker and Arthur Godfrey.[16] The rain of frogs was inspired by the works of Charles Fort, and Anderson claims that he was unaware that it was also a reference in The Bible when he first wrote the sequence.[17] At the time the filmmaker came across the notion of a rain of frogs, he was "going through a weird, personal time", and he started to understand "why people turn to religion in times of trouble, and maybe my form of finding religion was reading about rains of frogs and realizing that makes sense to me somehow".[3]

Casting

Tom Cruise was a fan of Anderson's previous film, Boogie Nights, and contacted Anderson while he was working on Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999).[18] Anderson met with Cruise on the set of Kubrick's film and Cruise told him to keep him in mind for his next film. After Anderson finished the script, he sent Cruise a copy and the next day, Cruise called him. Cruise was interested but nervous about the role. Anderson met with Cruise along with De Luca who helped convince Cruise to do the film.[4] Frank T.J. Mackey, the character that Cruise would play in the film, was based in part on an audio-recording done in an engineering class taught by a friend that was given to Anderson.[3] It consisted of two men, "talking all this trash" about women and quoting a man named Ross Jeffries, who was teaching a new version of the Eric Weber course, "How to Pick Up Women," but utilizing hypnotism and subliminal language techniques.[3] Anderson transcribed the tape and did a reading with Reilly and Chris Penn.[4] Anderson then incorporated this dialogue and his research on Jeffries and other self-help gurus into Mackey and his sex seminar.[3] Anderson felt that Cruise was drawn to the role because he had just finished making Eyes Wide Shut, playing a repressed character, and was able to then play a character that was "outlandish and bigger-than-life".[8] Anderson filmed a full-length infomercial with Cruise and even bought time on late night TV to play it on.[19]

Anderson wrote the role of Earl Partridge for Jason Robards, but Robards could not do it due to a staph infection. After George C. Scott declined the role,[20] Robards managed to take it.[21] He said of his character, "It was sort of prophetic that I be asked to play a guy going out in life. It was just so right for me to do this and bring what I know to it".[7] According to Hall, much of the material with Partridge was based on Anderson watching his father die of cancer.[16] Anderson wanted Burt Reynolds to star in the film after working on Boogie Nights, but Reynolds declined it.[22]

Filming

Filming began on January 12, 1999, and was initially scheduled to be 79 days, but ending up lasting until June 24, 1999, making a total of 90 filming days plus 10 days of second unit filming.[23]

Anderson is known for the use of long takes in his films that move along considerable distances with complex camera movements and transitions with actors and the sets.[24] Of the long takes in Magnolia, the most notable may be the 2 minutes 15 seconds where character Stanley Spector arrives at the studio for a taping of What Do Kids Know?, the camera seamlessly moving through multiple rooms and hallways and transitioning to follow different characters throughout the single take.[25]

For the look of the film, the production designers analyzed films with close, tight and warm color palettes and applied it to Magnolia.[7] They also wanted to evoke the colors of the magnolia flower: greens, browns and off-whites. For the section of the prologue that is set in 1911, Anderson used a hand-cranked Pathé camera that would have been used at the time.[7] Some of the actors were nervous about their scene singing the lyrics to Mann's "Wise Up", so Anderson asked Moore go first to help set the pace which everyone else followed.[6]

Anderson and New Line Cinema reportedly had intense arguments about how to market Magnolia.[4] He felt that the studio did not do a decent enough job on Boogie Nights and did not like the studio's poster or trailer for Magnolia. Anderson ended up designing his own poster, cut together a trailer himself,[4] wrote the liner notes for the soundtrack album, and pushed to avoid hyping Cruise's presence in the film in favor of the ensemble cast.[21] Even though Anderson ultimately got his way, he realized that he had to "learn to fight without being a jerk. I was a bit of a baby. At the first moment of conflict, I behaved in a slightly adolescent knee-jerk way. I just screamed."[4]

Music and soundtracks

Anderson met Aimee Mann in 1996 when he asked her husband, Michael Penn, to write the score and songs for his film, Hard Eight. Mann had songs on soundtracks before but never "in such an integral way", she said in an interview.[18][failed verification] She gave Anderson rough mixes of songs and found that they both wrote about the same kinds of characters.[18][failed verification] He encouraged her to write songs for the film by sending her a copy of the script.[7] Anderson said that "Simon and Garfunkel is to The Graduate as Aimee Mann is to Magnolia".[26]

Two songs were written expressly for the film: "You Do", which was based on a character later cut from the film, and "Save Me", which closes the film;[10] the latter was nominated in the 2000 Academy Awards and Golden Globes and in the 2001 Grammys. Most of the remaining seven Mann songs were demos and works in progress; "Wise Up", which is at the center of a sequence in which all of the characters sing the song,[6] was originally written for the 1996 film Jerry Maguire. At the time, Mann's record label had refused to release her songs on an album.[10] The song that plays at the opening of the film is Mann's cover of "One" by Harry Nilsson. Mann's track "Momentum" is used as the loud playing music in Claudia's apartment scene when Officer Jim arrives and was also featured in the trailer for the film.

The soundtrack album, released in December 1999 on Reprise Records, features the Mann songs, as well as a section of Jon Brion's score and tracks by Supertramp and Gabrielle that were used in the film. Reprise released a full score album in March 2000.

Reception

Box office

Magnolia initially opened in a limited release on December 17, 1999, in seven theaters grossing $193,604. The film was given a wide release on January 7, 2000, in 1,034 theaters grossing $5.7 million on its opening weekend. It eventually grossed $22.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $26.0 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $48.5 million, against a budget of $37 million.[27]

Critical response

There is no film ... EVER ... that has made me think and made me feel and made me question like Magnolia. It made me laugh and cry and squirm and giggle with nervous laughter. Yet, I can't deny that five years later my life is changed because I've seen Magnolia. I sit here at my computer getting goosebumps at the tenderness of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

—Film critic Richard Propes on the impact of Magnolia.[28]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of 216 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "An eruption of feeling that's as overwhelming as it is overwrought, Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia reaches a fevered crescendo and sustains it thanks to its fearlessly committed ensemble."[29] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 78 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[30] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C-" on an A+ to F scale.[31]

USA Today gave the film three and a half stars out of four and called it "the most imperfect of the year's best movies".[32] Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film four stars out of four, praising it in both of his reviews from 2000 and 2008, and as his second favorite film of 1999, behind Being John Malkovich. He said in the first review, "Magnolia is the kind of film I instinctively respond to. Leave logic at the door. Do not expect subdued taste and restraint, but instead a kind of operatic ecstasy".[33] After rewatching it in 2008, he added the film to his 'Great Movies' list.[34] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" rating, praising Cruise's performance: "It's with Cruise as Frank T.J. Mackey, a slick televangelist of penis power, that the filmmaker scores his biggest success, as the actor exorcises the uptight fastidiousness of Eyes Wide Shut ... Like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, this cautiously packaged movie star is liberated by risky business".[35] The Independent said that the film was "limitless. And yet some things do feel incomplete, brushed-upon, tangential. Magnolia does not have the last word on anything. But is superb".[36] Kenneth Turan, in his review for the Los Angeles Times, praised Tom Cruise's performance: "Mackey gives Cruise the chance to cut loose by doing amusing riffs on his charismatic superstar image. It's great fun, expertly written and performed, and all the more enjoyable because the self-parody element is unexpected".[37] In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "In the case of Magnolia, I think Mr. Anderson has taken us to the water's edge without plunging in. I admire his ambition and his very eloquent camera movements, but if I may garble something Lenin once said one last time, 'You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs'."[38]

In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "But when that group sing-along arrives, Magnolia begins to self-destruct spectacularly. It's astonishing to see a film begin this brilliantly only to torpedo itself in its final hour," but went on to say that the film "was saved from its worst, most reductive ideas by the intimacy of the performances and the deeply felt distress signals given off by the cast".[39] Philip French, in his review for The Observer, wrote, "But is the joyless universe he (Anderson) presents any more convincing than the Pollyanna optimism of traditional sitcoms? These lives are somehow too stunted and pathetic to achieve the level of tragedy".[40] The Time critic Richard Schickel wrote: "The result is a hard-striving, convoluted movie, which never quite becomes the smoothly reciprocating engine Anderson (who did Boogie Nights) would like it to be."[41]

In an interview, Ingmar Bergman mentioned Magnolia as an example of the "strength of American cinema".[42] Roger Ebert included the work in his "Great Movies" list in November 2008, saying, "As an act of filmmaking, it draws us in and doesn't let go."[43] Total Film magazine placed it at number 4 in their list of 50 Best Movies in Total Film's lifetime.[44] In 2008, it was named the 89th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.[45] It received eight votes – five from critics and three from directors – in the British Film Institute's 2012 Sight & Sound polls.[46]

Following the film's release, Anderson said: "I really feel ... That Magnolia is, for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make."[47] Later he came to consider it overlong;[48] when asked in interview what he would tell himself to do if he could go back to when he shot the film, his response was "Chill The Fuck Out and Cut Twenty Minutes."[49]

Accolades

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Tom Cruise Nominated [50]
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Original Song "Save Me"
Music and Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Paul Thomas Anderson Won [51]
[52]
Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost" Won
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama Tom Cruise Won
Favorite Supporting Actress – Drama Julianne Moore Nominated
Bodil Awards Best American Film Nominated [53]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Nominated [54]
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Tom Cruise Won
Chlotrudis Awards Best Movie Nominated [55]
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (also for The Talented Mr. Ripley) Won
Best Cinematography Robert Elswit Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Picture Nominated [56]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Nominated
Empire Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won [57]
Best Ensemble Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Tom Cruise Won [58]
[59]
Best Original Song – Motion Picture "Save Me"
Music and Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or 
 Other Visual Media
Magnolia: Music from the Motion Picture – Aimee Mann Nominated [60]
Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or 
 Other Visual Media
MagnoliaJon Brion Nominated
Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media "Save Me" – Aimee Mann Nominated
Grand Prix Cinema Brazil Best Foreign Language Film Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Guldbagge Awards Best Foreign Film Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Picture Nominated [61]
Best Original Song "Save Me"
Music and Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Nominated
Best DVD Nominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards Screenwriter of the Year Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Video from a Film Aimee Mann – "Save Me" Nominated
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Director Paul Thomas Anderson Won
Best Male Dubbing Roberto Chevalier (for dubbing Tom Cruise) Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 3rd Place [62]
[8]
Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (also for The Talented Mr. Ripley) Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore (also for A Map of the World, Cookie's Fortune,
and An Ideal Husband)
Won
Best Acting by an Ensemble Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (also for The Talented Mr. Ripley) 2nd Place [63]
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore (also for A Map of the World and An Ideal Husband) 2nd Place
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Picture JoAnne Sellar and Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated [64]
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Tom Cruise Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
Best Youth Performance Jeremy Blackman Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Original Song "Save Me"
Music and Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Nominated
Best Adapted Song "One"
Music and Lyrics by Harry Nilsson
Won
Best Casting Cassandra Kulukundis Nominated
Best Ensemble Won
Best Cinematic Moment "Frogs" Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards (1999) Top 10 Films 6th Place [65]
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Nominated
Best Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards (2000) Best DVD Nominated [66]
Robert Awards Best American Film Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
San Sebastián International Film Festival Film of the Year Won
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [67]
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Tom Cruise Nominated
Best Screenplay – Original Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Original Song "Save Me"
Music and Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Nominated
Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Melinda Dillon, April Grace,
Luis Guzmán, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore,
John C. Reilly, Jason Robards, and Melora Walters
Nominated [68]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Tom Cruise Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Julianne Moore Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst On-Screen Hairstyle (Male) Tom Cruise Nominated [69]
Most Intrusive Musical Score Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Won [70]
[71]
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Won
Best Screenplay Won[a]
Turkish Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Film 7th Place
Village Voice Film Poll Best Film 8th Place [72]
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated [73]
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Jeremy Blackman Nominated [74]

Themes

Essays have been written on the themes in Magnolia,[76][77][78][79][80] such as regret; loneliness;[18] the cost of failed relationships as a result of parents, particularly fathers, who have failed their children;[81] and cruelty to children and its lasting effect (as demonstrated by the sexual assault perpetrated on Claudia by Jimmy).[43]

Raining frogs and Exodus (Bible) reference

At the end of the film, frogs rain from the sky. Throughout the film, there are references to the Book of Exodus 8:2 "And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs."

The film has an underlying theme of unexplained events, taken from the 1920s and 1930s works of Charles Fort. Fortean author Loren Coleman's 2001 book "Mysterious America: The Revised Edition" includes a chapter entitled "The Teleporting Animals and Magnolia", addressing the film.[82] The chapter discusses how one of Fort's books is visible on the table in the library and the film's end credit thanking Charles Fort.[83]

The only character who seems to be unsurprised by the falling frogs is Stanley. He calmly observes the event, saying, "This happens. This is something that happens." This has led to the speculation that Stanley is a prophet, allegorically akin to Moses, and that the "slavery" to which the film alludes is the exploitation of children by adults.[84] These "father issues" persist throughout the film, as seen in the abuse and neglect of Claudia, Frank, Donnie, Stanley, and Dixon.[85]

Home media

The DVD release includes a lengthy behind-the-scenes documentary, That Moment.[86] It uses a fly-on-the-wall approach to cover nearly every aspect of production, from production management and scheduling to music direction to special effects. The behind-the-scenes documentary is an in-depth look into Anderson's motivation and directing style. Pre-production included a screening of the film Network (1976), as well as Ordinary People (1980). Several scenes showed Anderson at odds with the child actors and labor laws that restrict their work time. The character of Dixon has further scenes filmed but, from Anderson's reactions, appear not to be working. These scenes were cut completely and have never been shown on DVD.

Notes

References

  1. ^ "MAGNOLIA (18)". British Board of Film Classification. January 11, 2000. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  2. ^ "'Magnolia': Paul Thomas Anderson's Absorbing Mosaic of Compassion, Humanity and the Importance of Forgiveness • Cinephilia & Beyond". December 16, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Konow, David (January–February 2000). "PTA Meeting: An Interview with Paul Thomas Anderson". Creative Screenwriting.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Hirschberg, Lynn (December 19, 1999). "His Way". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Goldstein, Patrick (December 24, 1999). "Heading in a New Direction". Toronto Star.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Patterson, John (March 10, 2000). "Magnolia Maniac". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on August 27, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
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