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4.4 22
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Jason Robards Jr., Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise


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Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson followed his critical and commercial breakthrough Boogie Nights with this wildly ambitious story of lives intertwining on a single day in California's San Fernando Valley. Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), a successful producer of television game shows, left his wife when she contracted cancer to marry the younger and more


Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson followed his critical and commercial breakthrough Boogie Nights with this wildly ambitious story of lives intertwining on a single day in California's San Fernando Valley. Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), a successful producer of television game shows, left his wife when she contracted cancer to marry the younger and more beautiful Linda (Julianne Moore). Now, Earl has cancer himself, and Linda spends her day fetching medicines and trying to deal with the imminent death of her husband, whom she has only now come to love. Earl asks his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to arrange a meeting with his estranged son, Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), known for his self-help program "Seduce and Destroy," in which he preaches the importance of male sexual prowess; he cared for his mother after Earl left her, and he has no desire to see his father again. Earl's best-known show is hosted by Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), who also learns that he is dying. Jimmy's show pits bright adults against unusually smart kids; one of Jimmy's child contestants, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman), arrives late for a taping after being left stranded by his father Rick (Michael Bowen), who is supported by his more successful son. Meanwhile, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), who was a champ on Jimmy's show as a child, is not having as much luck as an adult; he's just lost his job and needs to pay for some expensive dental work. Jimmy wants to reconcile with his estranged and emotionally fragile daughter Claudia (Melora Walters), who despises him and who will become involved with well-meaning police officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), who has been desperately lonely since his divorce three years ago. Magnolia reunites much of the cast and crew of Boogie Nights and features eight original songs by singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and a musical score by Jon Brion.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Take a bunch of screwed-up people, a few cases of terminal illness, and some very unpredictable weather. Let it all ferment in the fevered imagination of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, and the result is this sprawling ensemble drama set in the wastelands of suburban Los Angeles. Several stories unfold simultaneously over a single day (Á la Robert Altman's Short Cuts) as Magnolia follows it various characters, all of whom are in different stages of emotional and physical collapse. Among the many themes, discord between parents and their adult children is central. Tom Cruise shows a whole new side of himself as Frank T. J. Makey, a sex guru who runs a misogynistic male-empowerment seminar called "Seduce and Destroy." Jason Robards is his estranged father, a dying TV producer attended to by his guilt-ridden trophy wife (Julianne Moore) and a sympathetic male nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman). There is also lecherous quiz-show host (Philip Baker Hall) who is trying to reconnect with his neurotic, coke-sniffing daughter (Melora Walters). Besides Hoffman and Moore, a few other costars of Anderson's breakthrough hit Boogie Nights -- John C. Reilly, William H. Macy -- add their talents to Magnolia's superb cast. Aimee Mann's cleverly insightful songs give the film an introspective undertone, and Anderson's moving camera and fluid intercutting maintain forward momentum. As the separate stories intertwine, either through chance or destiny, buried secrets are exposed, paying off in monumental emotional catharses. The new DVD features an entire disc of supplemental material, including a Frank T. J. Mackey seminar and informercial, Mann's "Save Me" music video; and a making-of documentary.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Even more audacious than his 1997 breakthrough Boogie Nights, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia explores nothing less than the uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of love. Reuniting most of the cast members from Boogie Nights, with the notable additions of Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, and Melinda Dillon, Anderson pays homage to Robert Altman's multicharacter mosaics, delving into the minutiae of fate, coincidence, and the human condition through the chance intersections of ten major characters in one Southern California day. Along with his assured wide-screen compositions and camera movements, Anderson further reveals the cosmic connections between these damaged lives with a boldly poignant Aimee Mann "sing-along" and an appropriately Biblical finale. Though some critics sniffed that it was self-important pap, most were impressed enough by Anderson's intimately epic reach to forgive Magnolia's few flaws, while Cruise's flamboyant turn as sexual guru Frank T. J. Mackey earned the star a Golden Globe award and Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Though Cruise's presence was not enough to turn the three hour character study into a blockbuster hit, Magnolia confirmed that Boogie Nights was no artistic fluke, with Anderson once again garnering an Oscar nomination for his intricate screenplay.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Magnolia video diary covers the blossoming of a modern-day masterwork; Frank T. J. Mackey seminar; Seduce and Destroy infomercial; Aimee Mann Save Me music video; Theatrical trailer & TV spots

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jason Robards Earl Partridge
Julianne Moore Linda Partridge
Tom Cruise Frank "T.J." Mackey
Philip Seymour Hoffman Phil Parma
John C. Reilly Officer Jim Kurring
William H. Macy Donnie Smith
Melora Walters Claudia Wilson Gator
Jeremy Blackman Stanley Spector
Michael Bowen Rick Spector
Philip Baker Hall Jimmy Gator
Melinda Dillon Rose Gator
Emmanuel Johnson Dixon
April Grace Gwenovier
Master Henry Gibson Thurston Howell
Ricky Jay Burt Ramsey
Felicity Huffman Cynthia
Alfred Molina Solomon Solomon
Luis Guzman Luis Guzman
Mary Lynn Rajskub Janet (Frank's Assistant)
Pat Healy Actor
Patton Oswalt Scuba diver
Lillian Adams Donnie's Older Neighbor

Technical Credits
Paul Thomas Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Bill Arnold Production Designer
Mark Bridges Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Jon Brion Score Composer
Lou Carlucci Special Effects Supervisor
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Adam Druxman Asst. Director
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Joseph Grossberg Special Effects Supervisor
Lynn Harris Executive Producer
Cassandra Kulukundis Casting
Daniel Lupi Co-producer
Aimee Mann Songwriter
David Nakabayashi Art Director
John Pritchett Sound/Sound Designer
Joanne Sellar Producer
Chris Spellman Set Decoration/Design
Dylan Tichenor Associate Producer,Editor


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Magnolia 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard about this movie, and the tv channel said it was the best performance of Tom Cruises career. I heard that it was a really good movie. So I rented it, and I was blown away by it. The storyline was great, the directing was flawless. After watching it, Paul Thomas Anderson immediately became one of my top 3 film directors of all time. If you are a film buff like me, you will probably really enjoy this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a just a great movie. Wonderful dovetailing story lines, excellent cinematography, a fine soundtrack. The raining frogs are more Fortean than biblical. Observe the books the young quiz show whiz reads - titles by Charles Fort and William R Corliss. If you know of these men, then you understand. The acting is also excellent. Tom Cruise is hardly a favorite of mine, but he really shines in this movie. The cop and the blonde cokehead are also nicely realized roles. The game show host is another, though perhaps an easier character to bring to life. Anyway, I love this flick.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not to many films that hit the silver screen really grab you and pull you in onto an extreme emotional roller coaster quite like Magnolia does. With wonderous visual fabric, a gripping soundtrack, and a spellbinding story this movie really packs a punch. Its not just a movie with a great cast(might i add) its also a wonderful story that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat till the very end. I simply loved it
Guest More than 1 year ago
Through out the film there are a number of references to exodous 8:20, if you watch closely you will see the numbers 8 and 2, flashed through out the film. I think that passage says something to the effect of ''if you do not let them go, frogs will rain from the sky''.....which is why the frogs fall at the end....because generally, the film is about parents screwing up their kids lives and not letting them go, or so i think. peace
Guest More than 1 year ago
Be prepared for a depressing movie, but well worth the experience. I am not a Tom Cruise fan, but he was absolutely magnificent in this role. Poignant, sad and all too realistic. The soundtrack is fabulous, also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love this movie, i have seen it twice so far wish i woudl have seen it earlier. So mayn thing in this movie are real and happen to real people. i cried so much, i can relate to so many of the different situations. i wish this would have came out earlier. I too have lost my mom with my brothers and sister around but no father, i have yet to meet my father but i wouldnt know what i would do if that happened to me. just things like that, and the sequential order and organization of the stories and the equi-clomax of the different stories all going on at once really makes it intense. i really enjoyed this movie and would definitely recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie. The characters and the story line were incrediable. Am I the only one who does not understand the significance of the frogs??? Could someone please explain it to me. I am desperate for the answer
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps. MAGNOlIA is a true gem. PT Anderson (writer and director) and his editor have created a film which will be studied in film schools for eons. ALL of the actors in this film sparkle. The writing is crisp and thoughtful. Additionally, Magnolia has a beautiful soundtrack
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was great. The way the movie weaved back and forth into characters was great and the way they all connected in the ending was wonderful too. I especially liked the frogs which were used as a climatic metaphor. Buy this movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It starts with magnetizing introduction and impressive song of Aimee Mann. I fell regret not having watched until this year! All characters who share the same gweatherh acted amazingly. Though each past hasnft been revealed totally, their features make what the past affect them clear. What do you think of the glast weatherh?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watched this movie for a book club. In December we watch a movie and discuss the movie. If I didn't have to watch the movie for my book club I would have turned it off within the first fifteen minutes. It was very depressing and the frogs raining from the sky was GROSS.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters who aren't pathetic are repulsive, and out of a cast of great actors, only Tom Cruise stands out for his zesty take on his truly repulsive sex motivation guru. After everybody gets a chance to have a crisis, it starts raining frogs. It's symbolic, see? I'd take the time to figure it out, but I'm not interested. At the end is a single, poignant act of kindness that stands out nicely against the preceding emotional squalor, and almost makes the thing worthwhile. The DVD packaging is very opulent by the way, with a second disk that may explain everything. I may watch it sometime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the fine cast performances, I found this to be a terribly dark and depressing film, centering on drugs, death, cancer and human suffering. Cruise plays a scumbag and looks the part--unshaven with long scuzzy hair and an attitude to match. Misery is the theme here. While some may feel the last gory scenes offer a hint at some kind of redemption, I believe nothing can save this loser from the darkside where it belongs.
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