23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Superbly Sympathetic Movie,
By A Customer
This review is from: Magnolia [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I watched Magnolia last week on television pay per view, in my hotel room, at the end of a terribly long day at work - not the best time to see a movie. Yet what I saw was so enthralling, so moving, my attention was rapt.
There are scenes in some movies that are terribly moving because the writer has such sympathy for people who are hurt or lost in some way. I think of Timothy Hutton's character in Made in Heaven or Diane Lane's in Walk on the Moon. Magnolia has that sympathy in spades for an entire world in hurt, living in regret or frustration or worry. Although some reviewers clearly didn't respond, I think the vast majority of people will.
It's an interconnecting tale of many characters with connections to one another's pasts or present (either through family or work) in a day in the Los Angeles suburbs. There are many recurring subjects - parents and children, drug addiction, television, forgiveness, insecurity of one's appeal to others, cancer, the haunting of the past, coincidence itself.
The acting is superb, the movie deliberately unrealistic in some effects, yet terribly so in many others. The "philosophy" of the movie is quite old-fashioned - a restatement of the importance of love and understanding between people, regardless of their failures as human beings. There is an astonishing simplicity about much of the dialogue - e.g., "Dad, you've got to be nicer to me" and much of what the policeman says about forgiveness.
I have read reviews here attacking the screenplay - yet most people will want to cry during the course of it. That's pretty powerful.
The movie is haunting - when it's over, it makes the particular thing you are doing seem insignificant. Why are its effects so profound? I don't know - perhaps because the characters are so well drawn, the acting so magnificent, the desires of the characters so present in all of us, the intensity of the dilemmas facing human beings so vividly displayed.
This is a movie that will strike very deeply. It cannot easily be chewed, discussed and forgotten in a drink with another after the movie. It doesn't easily lend itself to "I liked this part, how about you?" sort of discussion.
This wonderful movie is probably best seen alone. Do see it - you won't forget it.