User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 267 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 74 out of 267
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  1. Oct 7, 2010
    9
    A rare success with this film is that it is a Tom Cruise film I like. But to be honest,it's not really about him it's how the cinematography is so interwoven you can't remember where you went last and where you are going to go next. To think of a story like this takes time and dedication and to keep you hanging on for 3 Hours isn't a bad feat either.
  2. Oct 7, 2012
    10
    Every so often a movie that you have heard a lot about but never seen blows your mind. Magnolia is one of those movies for me. Immediately after viewing this film I knew that it would be on my mind for weeks and that it would become one of my top 10 films. Every character in this movie is interesting on multiple levels. Every scene in this movie is thoughtful and poignant. The scenes thatEvery so often a movie that you have heard a lot about but never seen blows your mind. Magnolia is one of those movies for me. Immediately after viewing this film I knew that it would be on my mind for weeks and that it would become one of my top 10 films. Every character in this movie is interesting on multiple levels. Every scene in this movie is thoughtful and poignant. The scenes that opponents of this film have problems with, the frogs and the musical interlude, work for me in every way. Both these scenes do seem out of place in this story, but for me that is what makes them amazing. They come from nowhere, but interlock these characters in a visceral, interesting way. There is so much to unravel in a film this large, with multiple plot lines and characters running both separate from each other and together at various times. You could probably write a book trying to accurately review this movie. I look forward to watching this movie again and again over the years, and trying to unravel all the characters and premises in my mind. Expand
  3. MichaelM.
    Oct 23, 2004
    10
    An excellent follow-up to 1997's Boogie Nights, but isn't as good. I would say Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson's second best film (out of 4). The story is very complex and you really have to pay attention. Not to mention it is a very LONG movie too. It is three hours and eight minutes! I've seen longer, but that is pretty long. The story really sucks you in though. It An excellent follow-up to 1997's Boogie Nights, but isn't as good. I would say Magnolia is Paul Thomas Anderson's second best film (out of 4). The story is very complex and you really have to pay attention. Not to mention it is a very LONG movie too. It is three hours and eight minutes! I've seen longer, but that is pretty long. The story really sucks you in though. It is about a lonely cop (John C. Reilly) who is falling in love with coke-addict (Melora Walters), whose father is a big television game show host (Philip Baker Hall - who portrayed Detective Bookman on 'Seinfeld') who is having heart problems, who has the kid genius star on his show (Jeremy Blackman). The other story is about a sick old man who is dying (Jason Robards) and how his young wife (Julianne Moore) and his personal nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman) try to get in touch with his only son (Tom Cruise) who is a motivational speaker to sexist men. Another major character in the story is a former quiz show kid (William H. Macy) who is an adult now and reflects on his horrible life as a car salesman and how his parents took his money away from him. This is an excellent film for people looking for an interesting movie and long movie. I recommend this to Paul Thomas Anderson fans too. See the movie my English teacher calls the best film of all time! This is the only film where all the performances given deserve an Oscar. (2/21/03) Expand
  4. raVen
    Aug 28, 2004
    9
    George Orwell knew Upisdownism. He understood that if conditions were right, people could be convinced that they didn't really want what was best for them. And it occurs to me that too often reviewers on this site and elsewhere are victims of their own poor taste in movies. And I don't mean relative to MY choices - I mean relative to their OWN. Individuals who most loath the George Orwell knew Upisdownism. He understood that if conditions were right, people could be convinced that they didn't really want what was best for them. And it occurs to me that too often reviewers on this site and elsewhere are victims of their own poor taste in movies. And I don't mean relative to MY choices - I mean relative to their OWN. Individuals who most loath the mainstream critics will in the same breath curse their own inevitable reliance on critic recommendation for getting them to the theater...Movies like Lost In Translation are ripped at for being boring - by people unabashed in their defense of short attention spans...Others complain equally about lifelessness in character and "sappy" emotive sequences... Forgive me for stating the obvious, but if you don't like jazz, DON'T LISTEN TO IT! ~ Jason Robards -the very same Robards that is in this film- made a movie in 1968 that I consider to be the best of the Western genre. Alas, when I shared Once Upon A Time In The West with a friend he was bored to tears. But he's that kind of movie watcher - I should have known better. In fairness, HE introduced ME to Boondock Saints and A Fish Called Wanda. HE should have known better, too. ~ From what I can tell, the most loving reviews on this site are elicited by films like Alien vs Predator... ...love them or love to hate them, they are at least predictable. There is a pop culture code for such flicks: either "Awesome!" or "That's not my kind of movie." People seem comforted by the predictability, and the studios respond by being equally comfortable with their formula. The problem with dismissing Magnolia too quickly is that if the Magnolias of the world go away, so does the tweaking of formula, and so do the people who dare to tweak. I truly appreciate people who say they walked out of a movie I liked. Why should they waste the time? But please don't sit through it (your window to leave was 3 hours long!) and then tell me you were bored. That helps no one. There are entire genres devoted to impatient people like my friend. And if you continually sit through movies you don't like, that's a result of YOUR poor choice as a consumer. You should have known better. ~ Me? I loved this movie, as I suspected I might. Sought it out, in fact. Bill Macy has yet to lead me astray. Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Aug 21, 2002
    9
    Magnolia is one of those movies which exposes all of the emotions in the viewer.At points it raised a wry smile,at times I had to try my hardest to supress my tears.And because of the very authentic characterisation of the film,it was painful to watch,the realisations and lives of some of the characters-esp Claudia's.I would not give this a film a perfect 10 due to the length,and Magnolia is one of those movies which exposes all of the emotions in the viewer.At points it raised a wry smile,at times I had to try my hardest to supress my tears.And because of the very authentic characterisation of the film,it was painful to watch,the realisations and lives of some of the characters-esp Claudia's.I would not give this a film a perfect 10 due to the length,and also I think there could have been greater exlanation of the character of the Stanley's father. Overall though this film is just pure art,and the performances(especiallly Melora Waters) were astonishing. Expand
  6. John
    Oct 14, 2003
    10
    P.T. Anderson was 29 when this was made. Most filmmakers never achieve this height of brilliance in a lifetime. It stands as a singular achievement from any moment in cinematic history.
  7. Feb 19, 2012
    7
    Interesting interwoven tale of numerous lives although the Tom Cruise character dominates the movie. A superbly acted and directed movie which everybody should see.
  8. May 6, 2011
    9
    Grandly emotional, brilliantly edited, and makes use of music in startlingly original and profound ways. However, this sprawling opus isn't perfect; It's a bit hard to follow and some plot points get left dangling. The cast is excellent, and while it isn't flawless, it is a great film. Definitely worth seeing.
  9. Sep 19, 2012
    10
    What a raw and powerful film that succeeds in every category possible. Writing, directing, acting, editing, camera work are all fantastic in another PT Anderson masterpiece. All the more great because it is a film that denies hollywood convention and instead creates something more bizarre and memorable and a work of art that demands to be seen and talked about.
  10. BKM
    Jul 17, 2012
    0
    Magnolia is a beast of a movie, and not just in terms of its 3 hour plus running time. Paul Thomas Anderson's ambitious and challenging film (in some ways it's more daring than Boogie Nights) juggles an enormous cast of characters who are all in desperate need of love and redemption, and sometimes both. The film digs deep emotionally into the souls of its characters and suggests thatMagnolia is a beast of a movie, and not just in terms of its 3 hour plus running time. Paul Thomas Anderson's ambitious and challenging film (in some ways it's more daring than Boogie Nights) juggles an enormous cast of characters who are all in desperate need of love and redemption, and sometimes both. The film digs deep emotionally into the souls of its characters and suggests that each and every one of them is deserving of these very qualities despite their sins and transgressions. Magnolia is an art film that begs to be attacked for its pretentiousness and for a gonzo finale, but it's all the better for those very things. Expand
  11. JeremyB.
    Nov 10, 2001
    1
    I couldn't help but leave the theater after the first 2 hours of trash, so I guess this review isn't entirely accurate. But then again, maybe it is.
  12. W.W.
    May 17, 2004
    0
    What a chore...
  13. JonW.
    Jul 7, 2006
    0
    I thought "The Village", "Random Hearts" and "Intersection" were the worst movies of all time. Now they're only the 2nd - 4th worst movies of all time thank to this hunk of junk. The most interesting part of the film was the first 1 minute when 3 coincidences were summarized - the only coincidence involving the actual characters in the movie were the boredom in which they inflicted, I thought "The Village", "Random Hearts" and "Intersection" were the worst movies of all time. Now they're only the 2nd - 4th worst movies of all time thank to this hunk of junk. The most interesting part of the film was the first 1 minute when 3 coincidences were summarized - the only coincidence involving the actual characters in the movie were the boredom in which they inflicted, the pointlessness of their stories and the over-the-top acting by all of the cast members. By the end of the movie, I was praying that they all would die together, quickly because I cared nothing for any of them and only wanted to stop my pain. It will be tough to top this one as the worst ever, but I'm sure some Hollywood genius is already hard at work. Expand
  14. Cindy
    Jan 15, 2002
    2
    Excellent character portrayals, but not worth sitting through the f-word ladden dialog for three hours when the writer couldn't come up with an ending.
  15. DaveS.
    Jul 8, 2002
    0
    Pretentious, empty whinefest.
  16. ScottyM
    Nov 4, 2004
    0
    Pretentious, but not even in a good way. It doesn't entertain, it doesn't make you think, but it does make you wonder where the hell the last 3 hours of your life went. Me and a group of friends sat through 3 hours of this crapfest till we turned it off. It's so disgustingly over the top that you'd be more inclined to dip your testicles in molten lava than watch this Pretentious, but not even in a good way. It doesn't entertain, it doesn't make you think, but it does make you wonder where the hell the last 3 hours of your life went. Me and a group of friends sat through 3 hours of this crapfest till we turned it off. It's so disgustingly over the top that you'd be more inclined to dip your testicles in molten lava than watch this movie ever again. Expand
  17. C.Monster
    Jul 18, 2004
    2
    There are some very good performances and a fine cast here, but it just doesn't make up for the mess that PT Anderson has thrown together. Anderson's movies are reminiscent of what would happen if you took 20 edible delicacies and threw them all together in a skillet. Cooked the right way, they'd be delicious but, in tandem, it tastes horrible. I dislike PT Anderson. He There are some very good performances and a fine cast here, but it just doesn't make up for the mess that PT Anderson has thrown together. Anderson's movies are reminiscent of what would happen if you took 20 edible delicacies and threw them all together in a skillet. Cooked the right way, they'd be delicious but, in tandem, it tastes horrible. I dislike PT Anderson. He wants to be Robert Altman when he grows up but, unlike Altman, Anderson's not capable of filling the screen with so many characters without making a mess of things. Magnolia is his sloppiest concoction of all: a series of mundane scenes, snippets of characters that don't tell us enough, and loose moralizing/pontificating at the end of the film that's supposed to tie back to the over 3 hours of action but just doesn't. What's the point? I don't think there is one, so you're either going to fall over yourself because of the acting and direction or not. I didn't. I want a whole film, and not just a random collection of ingredients. Expand
  18. BJones
    Feb 13, 2009
    1
    This movie was garbage, and every scene was drawn out long enough for you to be begging for the next scene, and it added up to a 3 hour piece of junk. Really garbage.
  19. BiffL.
    Jul 12, 2009
    2
    Various blighted, phony, humorless characters strutting and fretting between ridiculous marginally intelligent speechifying, all of them so dishonest, lost and damned that the only salvation (or relief at least) possible would be a plague of equally phony frogs dropping from the sky. Reminded me of the Sam Kinison routine about the people starving in the desert. Like, if your life is Various blighted, phony, humorless characters strutting and fretting between ridiculous marginally intelligent speechifying, all of them so dishonest, lost and damned that the only salvation (or relief at least) possible would be a plague of equally phony frogs dropping from the sky. Reminded me of the Sam Kinison routine about the people starving in the desert. Like, if your life is really anything like that, why the fuck don't you MOVE? It made my 10 worst films of all time list, nearer the top than the bottom. Expand
  20. KidR.
    Sep 22, 2002
    2
    I gave this movie 25 minutes to prove itself, and it failed the test. From what I saw, plot was absent. Sheryl Crow's painful cover of "One" dominated the first 15 minutes of the movie, completely drowning out most of the opening dialogue -- not that there was much to be had, for most every other word begun with the letter "f." Truly insufferable.
  21. GordonM.
    Dec 9, 2003
    5
    Let's consider the disgusting phenomenon of pt anderson, the young turk or young turkey or young dork(take your pick)of new American cinema. If you've seen Magnolia, you know he's not without talent. He has lively visual sense, vivid storytelling ability, a way with actors. However, his faults outweigh his talent by 100 toads to one. Surely, for any man worth his manhood, Let's consider the disgusting phenomenon of pt anderson, the young turk or young turkey or young dork(take your pick)of new American cinema. If you've seen Magnolia, you know he's not without talent. He has lively visual sense, vivid storytelling ability, a way with actors. However, his faults outweigh his talent by 100 toads to one. Surely, for any man worth his manhood, magnolia is one of the most annoying, self-pitying, and sappy movies of all time. Sappiness is the specialty of the average mainstream movie tugging at our hearts. It's the role of the true artist to give us emotions without the saphead conventions. Not pt anderson, who outsaps them all. The viewer may be fooled into thinking he's peering into real lives, real emotions; that's until PT Anderson plays Leo Buscalia and hugs them all and pops the champagne bottle bubbling with tears. All this was quite apparent in Boogie Nights, a movie purporting to be an uncompromised look at the seedy porn world of the 70s; instead, it culminated in wussyboy antics like ones never seen before. The success--critical or commercial--of both films indicate our society has its share of wussyboys who won't face the music of life, want to be hugged by the movies instead of being challenged or inspired. The signature anderson wussyboy moment is in Boogie Nights, when three morons decide to rob some degenerate coke dealer. the head honcho of the would-be robbers starts losing his cool exterior and we hear his inner voice deteriorate into trembling fear and babbling babytalk, and the robbery is botched and so on. What's Anderson saying here? He's saying that underneath our tough exterior we are all little boys. We're all wussyboys. We think we are men but we're all lonely little boys with our lonely big dreams, desperate for attention, for a goodlife, but always frustrated, always pitiful despite our manly posturing. I don't deny there is some truth to this; after all child is the father to the man. But, with Anderson this point is turned into soap, into an all encompassing worldview. Human misery is tranformed into the simple formula of thumbsucking infantile cry for mama's nipples. It may well be the case with Anderson(I've seen him on charlie rose; what a dork), but to somehow project his sappy self-doubts onto everyone else is utter bulls***. One of the most annoying things about woody allen movies is that every character is simply another variation of the Woody persona. it's like a bunch of characters, men or women, old or young, wasp or Jewish, were merely playing out one of Allen's neurotic fixations or personas. It's like Woody talking to himself. This is artistic masturbation, the inability to leap out of one's skin and see the world that exists outside. Still, Allen has the saving grace of humor. Anderson doesn't; quirkyness is NOT genuine humor. He has populated his movies with emotional clones. Perhaps, this is an unfair assessment of the artistic process. After all, bergman made intensely personal films. Yet, the the big difference is bergman was scathingly harsh on himself. For Anderson, there is only emotional masturbation, Anderson stroking poor Anderson, the outside world turned into a sappy Andersonian theme park where everyone feels as Anderson does, breaks down as Anderson does, throws tantrums for the babybottle, and finds the great, noble, and sappy Andersonian truth at the spiritual dawn of a new day. Speaking of masturbation, then it's no surprise that it's featured so prominently in the films of Anderson, Solondnz, and O Russell. They've graduated from stroking their wood to stroking their egos. Anderson's Boogie Nights is, of course, about the industry that depends on pu*pulling, and the characters in Magnolia all come across as masturbators who can't get the real thing in life. The typical Anderson character is someone who's been soooooo abused by life he finds solace in self-abuse, except emotionally he seems less interested in coming into the woman than crawling inside; ever hear the expression, "We all dream of being a child again"? Well, Anderson must want to be fetus, in which case, he's just a Howdy Doody version of that loathsome Dennis Hopper character in Blue Velvet. Now this is clearly as putrid a vision of humanity as one could imagine. No, I don't think movies have to be rosy, positive, hopeful, and inspirational. They can be grim, ugly. But, they can't have it both ways, giving us ugliness and then swirl around like Julie Andrews in Sound of Muzak and give us a sappy song-and-dance number. It's one thing to have a grim movie like Accatone by Pasolini, about street urchins who do anything to survive. It's a tough, uncompromised view. Or, Scorsese's Mean Streets, which while affectionate and nostalgic, is mockingly unforgivingl when things come to a tragicomic climax. But, Anderson is too coy, too cloying to be direct and honest with issues. Instead, he takes something from altman and the coen brothers, and mixes in his own gooey soapy stew and brews it to stinking perfection for all those in the world who need attention and feel loved. Compare a movie like nashville with magnolia. Both take panoramic view of a community, hopping from one narrative to another, showing the disparaties and the linkage among the characters. The difference is altman has a wider perspective, has true sense of satirical context, and when altman goes for emotional connection, he hits the bull's eye, well-timed and well earned. In other words, altman can tell caca from the real. Altman can see the phoniness but also thru the phoniness to a truer, more private reality. It's when the undisguised humanity bursts or blurts forth--often unexpected--that we see the folks of nashville as more than clowns, puppets, dupes. Same could be said for Fellini's Cabiria and It's a Wondeful Life, movies that deal with agony and loss but rise to a sense of redemption or realization; these films earn this right to be positive because the ultimate lesson is the world is bigger than our egos, our hangups and letdowns. This sense of perspective is missing in magnolia. Anderson wants us to feel so close to his losers that he takes every pitiful, pathetic, neurotic trifle as grave, indeed Biblical in their, ehem, tragic dimensions. So we have that guy with braces in his teeth, how he needs love and how we're supposed to understand his agony. Or julianne moore throwing some insipid fit about how bad she's been, how this ridiculous bwavuwa performance shakes every louse of neurosis out of her hair; method acting has come a long way, no? Or, how a cop is so lonely and on the verge of weeping cuz he wost his gubby wubby, how some woman who was molested by her father long ago can't get out of her coke habit, etc. look... I'm a compassionate person. And I also know that compassion aint only for the starving. I know there's emotional trauma, psychological pain, spiritual crisis. But, the examples cited above are bulls***. Bulls*** either because they are utterly stupid beyond stupid--indeed retarded--or their expressions are obnoxious and beyond the infinitely insufferable. I'm sorry, but no one who has any sense of real suffering in the world--physical or psychological--can possibly not be annoyed to sickening hell by julianne moore's over-the-top hysteria posing as turmoil and pain. It's barely believable and utterly embarassing, both for character and actress. But, alone she aint. Soon, everyone is throwing a fit of his own, breaking down, babbling and bawling, experiencing some catharsis like it's the big bang or something. Well, I don't know about you but I don't think it's the role of the filmmaker or the film viewer to change the characters's diapers. I think empathy is important in movie viewing but so is judgment. Judgment doesn't necessarily mean condemnation but we must judge, we must see things in perspective. Aanderson avoids this and goes a roundabout way of framing his stories in some pseudo-profound metaphysical mumbo jumbo. The framing device and the toads in magnolia mean NOTHING. it's just a cosmic copout by a dork who thinks he's being deep, clever. Expand
  22. JoelW.
    May 21, 2003
    1
    Pompous, stinky...the worst movie I have ever seen. PERIOD.
  23. PaulS
    Aug 11, 2004
    0
    Worst piece of crap I've seen in years! waste of time; 3 hours and 8 minutes of watching my life tick by. I can't say enough bad things about this overrated tripe. anyone who rated this garbage high just wants to be an 'artsy' person and so goes along with boring equaling great. don't buy into it, this may be one of the most boring films ever made. I wish I could Worst piece of crap I've seen in years! waste of time; 3 hours and 8 minutes of watching my life tick by. I can't say enough bad things about this overrated tripe. anyone who rated this garbage high just wants to be an 'artsy' person and so goes along with boring equaling great. don't buy into it, this may be one of the most boring films ever made. I wish I could give it a -10. Expand
  24. Aug 23, 2014
    9
    Who would guess that a film like this would be successful? However, it absolutely is. Magnolia explores the themes of loneliness, regret, forgiveness, the past, and parent-child relationships, with snapshots of the life of a group of broken and troubled people who are all linked, even if they do not know it. Thanks to great acting from the ensemble cast featuring Tom Cruise, MelindaWho would guess that a film like this would be successful? However, it absolutely is. Magnolia explores the themes of loneliness, regret, forgiveness, the past, and parent-child relationships, with snapshots of the life of a group of broken and troubled people who are all linked, even if they do not know it. Thanks to great acting from the ensemble cast featuring Tom Cruise, Melinda Dillon, Jeremy Blackman, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards, and Melora Walters, Magnolia's diverse (yet not as diverse as you may think) are brought to life brilliantly. It also does not hurt that the writing is superb and the depth we go to with these characters in just three hours is amazing. On that note, this one comes in at three hours and in spite of it, it feels like it was nothing more than an hour and a half, as the runtime just flies by. The ending is incredibly odd, though it brings the biblical references and the freak happenings of this one to conclusion nicely, as odd as it may truly be. Overall, Magnolia is a beautiful and brilliantly made film that will move and entertain you. Expand
  25. Nov 15, 2012
    10
    Don't treat Magnolia like a movie. Surrender yourself to it's awesomeness and allow it to play on your emotions like music. It'll blow you away.
  26. Apr 1, 2013
    4
    this movie without a doubt is the most creepiest 3 hours i spent on the big screen for long long time the writing is so weird that after finish watching the movie i felt manipulated and i felt that Paul Thomas Anderson should made a better explanation for all the events that been going on for the entire movie i get the idea that everyone was acting hard but some of them tried so hardthis movie without a doubt is the most creepiest 3 hours i spent on the big screen for long long time the writing is so weird that after finish watching the movie i felt manipulated and i felt that Paul Thomas Anderson should made a better explanation for all the events that been going on for the entire movie i get the idea that everyone was acting hard but some of them tried so hard it's ridiculous for example Alfred Molina has a 10 minutes of fame and he was acting like it was a scene from the godfather ,Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore did their parts very well but after all the movie is awkward but that make sense since Paul Thomas Anderson is also the director and the writer of there will be blood that awkward movie with a very questionable ending. after this i will never watch his movies again. Expand
  27. May 4, 2014
    8
    Magnolia is a very intelligent film from a usually impressive director Paul Thomas Anderson, Magnolia is very unique and watchable. The cast delivers great performances. Tom Cruise is in one of his strongest role as Frank T.J Mackey. A great way to follow up Boogie Nights!
  28. SamA.
    Mar 8, 2001
    10
    Wonderful. Perfectly wonderful.
  29. ThanaW.
    Aug 5, 2003
    10
    Magnificent! The performances were amazing. You can't help but feel the emotions of each character. But the crux of the film lies in the story Anderson creates. Anderson weaves these 9 interrelated lives together to culminate into one grand ending. Magnolia is simply a beautiful film.
  30. MarcusD
    Jul 30, 2007
    10
    The 2nd greatest film ever. The most ambitious direction and story ever. The best cast every assembled with Cruise standing out.
  31. Elliott
    Oct 28, 2002
    10
    Nothing in 1999 came close to this. A towering achievement in writing, directing, acting, and - of course - music.
  32. Garrett
    Apr 18, 2002
    7
    It's a movie to be seen for whoever you are. The ones who don't relate become bored and those that do, "change in unity".
  33. SabalomG.
    Sep 30, 2002
    10
    Astonishing. One of the best movies ever made, but not for the faint hearted.
  34. TheTwistedSchemeOfGilbertMulroneycakes
    Oct 28, 2003
    10
    Yoon Min Cho, I feel sorry for you. Really. Your review basically lists an awful lot of things that you think Anderson's doing, but which may just be your imagination - I (for one) had never thought of that until that precise moment. Why you care about (scroll, scroll, scroll) any perceived "wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and Yoon Min Cho, I feel sorry for you. Really. Your review basically lists an awful lot of things that you think Anderson's doing, but which may just be your imagination - I (for one) had never thought of that until that precise moment. Why you care about (scroll, scroll, scroll) any perceived "wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement, finally all souped with quasi-metaphysical gobbledygook"...and so on, is beyond me. You seem unable to accept the film on its own terms. And that' sad, because it's not what cinema's about. I'm not saying you can't be irritated by the characters (or whatever it was irritated you...) - it's your prerogative - just that it seems a waste of energy bothering to actively hate it over something so trivial. Oh, and for the love of God, don't mention the climactic spoiler deleted! It's meant to be a shock! And is. The point is this: Magnolia is a masterpiece. A masterpiece. (I said that twice because it's really a MASTERPIECE). Not everyone's cup of char (like Martin Scorcese Second Uniting for Robert Altman on some REALLY good stuff), but if you don't like it, it's likely your problem. If you like this sort of thing, this sort of thing you will love to pieces. If not, probably best avoided cos it's not going to convert you. Watch Nashville and Short Cuts first. And Boogie Nights. And Hard Eight. And then you probably should get some sleep. Expand
  35. Uter
    Sep 7, 2003
    7
    It's a semi artistic film that is a little stupid at times. The pace is quick and it is entertaining. Perhaps it's best suited for rental though, and not purchase.
  36. ManuelA.
    Jan 2, 2006
    10
    My favorite movie! I was entraped in the first opening seconds and it honestly did not let go until it all ended. On top of that my investment of time was rewarded by a truly unforgettable climax. Everyone of the actors in this movie are at the top of their game. I can watch this over and over again, and each time there is something new to ponder about.
  37. Redlight
    Jun 5, 2007
    10
    Mesmerizing movie. It's hard to choose a favourite performance but for now it's Julianne Moore. She doesn't portray her character in a sentimental fashion, which would be typical for the situation her character's in. instead, her behaviour is erratic, almost farcical, which makes her grief all the more devastating. Shame she never got nominated for an Oscar or Golden Globe.
  38. MayaL.
    Aug 6, 2008
    10
    Riveting film with brilliant ensemble!
  39. AndrewG
    Jul 18, 2009
    10
    I noticed most of the zero's on here dismiss Magnolia as a boring or artsy film people enjoy because it makes them feel smart. Magnolia makes you feel smart because it IS smart. In fact, P.T. Anderson's shattering of narrative convention is the most unique undertaking since Citizen Kane. I won't ruin the ending, but I will say that different aspects of the film, from the I noticed most of the zero's on here dismiss Magnolia as a boring or artsy film people enjoy because it makes them feel smart. Magnolia makes you feel smart because it IS smart. In fact, P.T. Anderson's shattering of narrative convention is the most unique undertaking since Citizen Kane. I won't ruin the ending, but I will say that different aspects of the film, from the characters to the themes, have already started to converge, making the ending acceptable. Some character studies are boring and have an unwarranted reputation, but not here. If your smart enough and want to invest some time towards wrapping your head around this one, you'll be amazed. Expand
  40. JaredSS
    Oct 15, 2003
    10
    One of my five all-time favorites. Right up there with Pulp Fiction, Dr. Strangelove, Ed Wood, and Raging Bull. PT Anderson is a wonder to behold, and the development of his career at such a young age leaves me dumbfounded. I can't even imagine the beginning of writing this film, let alone directing it. As complex as a rubik's cube, and as genuinely emotional as any film One of my five all-time favorites. Right up there with Pulp Fiction, Dr. Strangelove, Ed Wood, and Raging Bull. PT Anderson is a wonder to behold, and the development of his career at such a young age leaves me dumbfounded. I can't even imagine the beginning of writing this film, let alone directing it. As complex as a rubik's cube, and as genuinely emotional as any film I've seen, this deserves an immediate buy. Not rental. Not pay-per-view. BUY! Expand
  41. ZachP.
    Oct 5, 2003
    10
    This movie is so brilliant, it's blinding. Each and every scene is wrought with pure gold, in visuals, in dialogue, in performance, in everything. Julianne Moore is absolutely amazing, Tom Cruise can knock you over, William H. Macy is perfect, and, as always, Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a subtle and strong performance in support. Truly awesome.
  42. DanC.
    Jan 28, 2004
    9
    Very original with ripe performances.
  43. KennyM.
    Dec 16, 2005
    10
    Definately of the best films in the history of the cinema. at first i was slightly confused by the entire thing, especially the ending, but i thought about it for weeks, and i realized that i don't have to understand the wild ending, if a film makes me think about it for a week, it is amazing. I just came to except that the ending was a biblical referance which kind of brought Definately of the best films in the history of the cinema. at first i was slightly confused by the entire thing, especially the ending, but i thought about it for weeks, and i realized that i don't have to understand the wild ending, if a film makes me think about it for a week, it is amazing. I just came to except that the ending was a biblical referance which kind of brought everyone back to reality. amazing!!! Expand
  44. David
    Sep 12, 2005
    10
    One of the best films in the last 10 years.
  45. LukeG
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    Jaw droppingly awesome. John C. Reily was phenomenal in his goodie too shoes cop role.
  46. RyanD
    Feb 1, 2008
    10
    An emotional masterpiece.
  47. KyleS
    Jun 20, 2008
    10
    My favorite movie ever. A beautiful, bold and downright astonishing exploration of a group of realistic and convoluted characters with so many interlocking themes, similarities and events you could fill a book. Incredible acting, an ingenious and entrancing ending sequence, praiseworthy direction, a wonderful script and original songs by the terrific Aimee Mann all bolster this into a My favorite movie ever. A beautiful, bold and downright astonishing exploration of a group of realistic and convoluted characters with so many interlocking themes, similarities and events you could fill a book. Incredible acting, an ingenious and entrancing ending sequence, praiseworthy direction, a wonderful script and original songs by the terrific Aimee Mann all bolster this into a hypnotic masterpiece. One thing I will say, though, is that you need to watch this film when you have 3 free hours and nothing on your mind. Let it suck you in... if you are not paying attention, or if you are overthinking, you will hate it. Expand
  48. G-manC
    Nov 11, 2002
    10
    Brilliant and genius are some words that can be used to describe Paul Andersons new film Magnolia. Magnolia is about 9 lives that some way or another has love screwed up.
  49. IanM.
    Apr 23, 2002
    10
    This is the greatest film ever made.
  50. GilbertMulroneycakesAgain,Sorry
    Dec 21, 2003
    10
    Previously on Metacritic: Gordon M. wrote an interesting and thought-provoking review thing about the aspects of Pulp Fiction he found offensive, even sociopathic. It was interesting enough that I posted a partly-congratulatory response, despite that I'd already done a review of the film (still getting away with it, not sure how...[Ed: because we dig you, GM...]). Here, he quite Previously on Metacritic: Gordon M. wrote an interesting and thought-provoking review thing about the aspects of Pulp Fiction he found offensive, even sociopathic. It was interesting enough that I posted a partly-congratulatory response, despite that I'd already done a review of the film (still getting away with it, not sure how...[Ed: because we dig you, GM...]). Here, he quite tragically does the opposite. Unlike with Pulp, where he just couldn't get to the good bits from the bits that annoyed him, with Magnolia, he's clearly resisting the film - consciously resisting, mind you, and then blaming it on PT Anderson. Oh, and calling it "sappy" presumably because it deals with Human Emotion. "PT Anderson plays Leo Buscalia and hugs them all and pops the champagne bottle bubbling with tears" - When does he do that? I don't remember him doing that. I've read a review on this site saying the same about the end of Schindler's List of all things, and since then have lost all respect for the word. And of course there's the old problem of seeing the film as one thing, not liking that one thing, and then refusing to see it as anything else, which is just a very strange thing to want to do because it spoils everything. "For Anderson, there is only emotional masturbation, Anderson stroking poor Anderson, the outside world turned into a sappy Andersonian theme park where everyone feels as Anderson does, breaks down as Anderson does, throws tantrums for the baby bottle, and finds the great, noble, and sappy Andersonian truth at the spiritual dawn of a new day". What? What? You think that's what the film's about? Really? Well, okay, but evidently you don't like that, and so you're just spoiling it for yourself. I thought it was about the characters, not some strange abstraction about PT's ego. Don't remember any masturbation either. Or a song and dance number; "Wise Up" has no dancing, barely any singing from anyone bar the great Aimee Mann, and is hardly "Doe A Deer A Female Deer" lyrically. And it's so not sappy it's almost amazing. Other things. "Human misery is tranformed into the simple formula of thumbsucking infantile cry for mama's nipples" If you got that impression, that's okay, but why you would is beyond me. "Anderson wants us to feel so close to his losers that he takes every pitiful, pathetic, neurotic trifle as grave, indeed Biblical in their, ehem, tragic dimensions." You reckon? Okay, but again, you're the one bursting your own beachball here. "Anderson avoids this and goes a roundabout way of framing his stories in some pseudo-profound metaphysical mumbo jumbo." No, he doesn't, he introduces a concept in the pre-credits sequence and hangs the whole film on it, start to finish. It just didn't work for you. Shame. Hey, I meant it when I said I felt sorry for YMC; when I see people letting abstract concepts get in the way of their enjoyment and appreciation of a movie, song, cucumber, whatever, it hurts me. It's not as if you can't not like a film, I'm not a fascist or anything. It's just when your reasons for not liking a film are so nebulous it's like buying an ice-cream, taking one lick and throwing it away because you didn't want it after all. It's a waste of ice-cream. Look, movies, songs, cucumbers, you review them on their terms or not at all. Gordon and Yoon both watched them on terms they made up and then didn't like them. Others - Roger Ebert for instance - let the chips fall where they may, and recognised a masterpiece - and it is a masterpiece: quality is absolute, not relative, and the true merits of the film are there to be seen whether you can see them or not. Roger and I had a much better time watching Magnolia than Yoon or Gordon. In fact, we very probably have a much better time at the movies in general than them. Only see what Anderson wants you to see. Don't make assumptions on that score. Stop worrying for three hours and watch the movie. Then decide what PT's doing. Not what you think he's doing, what he is doing. And don't use the word "sappy" so often. At times like this, I like to remind myself that the papers in the mid-19th Century mocked Isambard Kingdom Brunel for a creator of follies. People in glass houses. Sorry. Expand
  51. PatC.
    Dec 5, 2003
    7
    Flawless premise, but after awhile plods along, like a delicious meal withheld until it gets cold first. But catch it once to see what Tom Cruise is capable of. He's thoroughly memorable as a conscienceless sex evangelist.
  52. Shane
    Jun 19, 2003
    10
    Easily the best movie ever made. I can't believe people can actually give it bad reviews. There are no flaws in this film. The movie can seem to lag at times, but it all pays out in the end. Great acting by most notably by Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, and William H. Macy.
  53. YoonC.
    Sep 22, 2003
    4
    Has a surging narrative, vivid display of emotions, but ultimately it's a shameless--no, shameful!--wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement, finally all souped with quasi-metaphysical gobbledygook(rain of frogs) which is neither funny nor inspired though it fooled alot of people. Emotionally, Anderson is a frog Has a surging narrative, vivid display of emotions, but ultimately it's a shameless--no, shameful!--wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement, finally all souped with quasi-metaphysical gobbledygook(rain of frogs) which is neither funny nor inspired though it fooled alot of people. Emotionally, Anderson is a frog himself, an amphibian who must crawl back into wet sentimentality to recover his energy to carry on with his offbeat gribbiting. Expand
  54. CarryA.
    Nov 28, 2006
    10
    It's the film I've seen the most and I find new details every time. It's absolutely great.
  55. OCuculiza
    Mar 16, 2006
    10
    A miracle. I couldn't believe what I was watching. Every single scene is absolute magic. This movie touched me in ways I could never expect, and I wished it would never end. The cast is flawless, the cinematography is amazing, and most importantly, the script and directing are just cinematic perfection. Hands down.
  56. AmurabiM.
    Sep 19, 2006
    8
    Through a series of coincidences, opportunities, human action, shared environment and divine intervention, this stories colludes and get involved themselves. These human lives that confronts each other daily and raises an unfogerttable climax are the field of this study of characters. Some of this characters are searching forgiveness, some of them are searching escape. Some get better Through a series of coincidences, opportunities, human action, shared environment and divine intervention, this stories colludes and get involved themselves. These human lives that confronts each other daily and raises an unfogerttable climax are the field of this study of characters. Some of this characters are searching forgiveness, some of them are searching escape. Some get better realtionships and others are exposed. "Magnolia" is a mosaic of American life through a series of comic and pathetic vignettes. Its a portrait of a lonely town, sometimes even a love letter. Its a personal search of the elements hidden in a crisis. Its a story about fix things. And its awesome. Expand
  57. SergeyM.
    Dec 29, 2007
    9
    Masterful work!
  58. DustinG.
    Feb 28, 2007
    10
    This movie is too good to be true. although it is a bit confusing, it kept me glued. the acting is the best i've ever seem in a movie. i rave and rave to everyone i know about this movie. i may put this dvd in a glass case and lock it up.......that's how much this movie means to me.
  59. filmdude
    Jan 18, 2008
    9
    I was speechless after watching this film lately. I heard good things about it and never had the chance to watch it. At first I thought it felt like experienmental film. Then I realized this film wasn't the conventional single-story driven film that an average hollywood films portray. It was expressing life as a community. Well, a community of a small group. This LIFE felt CHAOS from I was speechless after watching this film lately. I heard good things about it and never had the chance to watch it. At first I thought it felt like experienmental film. Then I realized this film wasn't the conventional single-story driven film that an average hollywood films portray. It was expressing life as a community. Well, a community of a small group. This LIFE felt CHAOS from start to end. To smile it off at the bitter facts of life it decided to throw in the frogs. Expand
  60. MattZ
    Dec 31, 2005
    10
    By far the best movie of 1999. Writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson has given birth to a true timeless masterpiece.
  61. Mar 10, 2012
    10
    Few people seem to understand this movie, but then few people understand me either. We are damaged, the film's characters and I. We struggle with pain and a crippled emotional life. It is a beautiful film. It sings a lovely and desperate song.
  62. Sep 16, 2013
    8
    Definately my kind of movie: it has multiple storylines with different characters, which are entwining and crossing each other in some points. They are mostly dramatic, telling about ruined lives, personal regrets and skeletons in the closet. Most of the characters have an amazing backstory, which is revealed during the movie. Also I'd like to mention Tom Cruise's role, probably his bestDefinately my kind of movie: it has multiple storylines with different characters, which are entwining and crossing each other in some points. They are mostly dramatic, telling about ruined lives, personal regrets and skeletons in the closet. Most of the characters have an amazing backstory, which is revealed during the movie. Also I'd like to mention Tom Cruise's role, probably his best one I've seen. Expand
  63. Feb 25, 2013
    8
    In Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" we get to follow a range of characters during one day as their fates are tied together. I can start by saying that I really liked this movie and its many characters, one of them brilliantly played by Tom Cruise who, according to me, should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor instead of Michael Caine. The fates of all the characters are tiedIn Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" we get to follow a range of characters during one day as their fates are tied together. I can start by saying that I really liked this movie and its many characters, one of them brilliantly played by Tom Cruise who, according to me, should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor instead of Michael Caine. The fates of all the characters are tied together so beautifully and so elegantly by PTA that I think it's safe to say that he is nothing less than a master, one of the greatest artists of his generation. Despite "Magnolia's" brutal length, I didn't look at my watch a single time, much because of its soundtrack that gives the movie an admirable pace both Aimee Mann's songs and the composition by Jon Brion is magical. This is a film that every movielover out there should see. Expand
  64. Jul 10, 2013
    10
    Magnolia is the kind of film that Paul Thomas Anderson likes: intelligent, full of symbolism and great characters that connect beautifully in the end.
  65. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    This epic montage gives an incredibly honest yet dark insight into the lives of the average human being through a stunningly complex and intelligent script. The three hours goes by in seconds, as the complexity and likability/love-hate-ability of the superbly-acted characters (especially Julianne Moore as Linda Partridge and Melora Walters as Claudia Wilson Gator) keeps us engaged andThis epic montage gives an incredibly honest yet dark insight into the lives of the average human being through a stunningly complex and intelligent script. The three hours goes by in seconds, as the complexity and likability/love-hate-ability of the superbly-acted characters (especially Julianne Moore as Linda Partridge and Melora Walters as Claudia Wilson Gator) keeps us engaged and guessing, as well as putting us through at least ten different emotions a minute. The climactic scenes are masterfully executed by P T Anderson, and give the perfect balance between satisfactory ending and a provocative one. The film is stylishly and atmospherically shot, indulging us and gripping us in the tense and unfulfilled, yet obscurely warm and wonderful world that is Magnolia. Expand
  66. Apr 6, 2015
    10
    A modern masterpiece in unique storytelling that from start to finish will have you captivated inside It's killer plot that never lets up, only becoming more and more intense as the story progresses. Afterwards it won't matter that the film is 3 hours, because It's 3 hours well spent and many more to come.
  67. Jun 28, 2014
    10
    PT Anderson's second Masterpiece after Boogie Nights, showcases some of the best acting performances of 1999. Tom Cruise's acting is first rate and completely haunting. Magnolia is a roller coaster ride with many characters to marvel at. John C. Riley also shows a sensitivity that is usually overshadowed by his command of comedy. In addition, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore givePT Anderson's second Masterpiece after Boogie Nights, showcases some of the best acting performances of 1999. Tom Cruise's acting is first rate and completely haunting. Magnolia is a roller coaster ride with many characters to marvel at. John C. Riley also shows a sensitivity that is usually overshadowed by his command of comedy. In addition, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore give intense and emotional performances that deserve recognition. Overall, its a long movie that flies by without notice. There is a scene towards the end that has to witnessed to believe it. It really makes this movie memorable. Expand
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. A three-hour-and-10-minute exercise in slight characterization, pointlessly showy editing and vapid plotting.
  2. 60
    None of the characters in Magnolia feel as vividly imagined as the porn stars and filmmakers and hangers-on of "Boogie Nights."
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    The most imperfect of the year's best movies, Magnolia's flaws are easily forgiven because they are the result of go-for-broke ambition.