Magnolia written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson seems to have gained a lot of attention and won Tom Cruise the award for Best Supporting Actor at Academy Awards and Golden Globes. However is it really worth the hype?
I'll try not to spoil it for those who haven't watched it yet, but the reality is that besides Tom Cruise doing a differentish role in this film, there was nothing in it that made me say it was a good film. The reason I watched it was that a friend recommended it and the trailer looked, well, different.
In fact you can watch the trailer now:
Does it all look confusing? Did you really get what was happening there? No? Well the movie is just more of that. In fact the trailer sums the movie up much better and shows you all the good bits right there (except for Tom Cruises performance); and to be very frank Tom Cruise got all hyped up because he did a different role in the movie and not because the story or his role in it made any sense. The trailer to be honest is much better than the movie itself.
What about all the other people and all the flying around and the game show and Jimmy Gator? Well they are just a bunch of really confused people who have badly f*** up in life and are now trying to fix it all. Do they fix everything eventually? And why is it called Magnolia? The answer is: I don't know, cause the movie doesn't really cover that part. Its left to your imagination. In fact its left off much before it catches your imagination at all.
It turns out that New Line Cinema, who backed the film, told Anderson that he could do whatever he wanted, and that's exactly what he did... whatever. So you can't blame him! Obviously New Line Cinema was being clever after Andersons previous hit Boogie Nights, they knew that the crowd would watch anything that Anderson could conjure up. It is clear that though Anderson has done a good job as director he has done a very poor job as writer.
So did I like absolutely nothing about this movie? Well, I did like the surprise rain towards the end of the movie and the lines you hear after its over (you can also hear them towards the end in the trailer) "Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven. Now that's a very tricky thing on my part; making that call. If you can forgive someone, well that's the tough part; what can we forgive?" The words are said by a police officer, however the context of the movie at the time is such that one can easily imagine these to be Gods thoughts (considering you believe He makes the rain).
To sum up, if you wish to watch a movie and relax, don't watch this one. I like Andersons movies and he has done some very excellent work, but he has disappointed me in this one.