A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Magnolia

November 6, 2011

Magnolia

This movie has completely fascinated me from the first time I started to watch it. I put it in one day during my lunch break at TLA in the back room and the opening hook and the introduction to the cast of characters grabbed me and never quite let me go even in all the years since I saw it. I had seen Boogie Nights, P.T. Anderson’s precursor to this movie, and it was good, but it didn’t get inside my head like this film did. Like Boogie Nights this is an ensemble piece about intersecting lives. This movie doesn’t have the central core of a single group though – it’s more about completely un-related people and the implausible circumstances that bring their lives together.

I will not say that it is an easy movie. P. T. Anderson does not make easy movies. It is a film full of pain and turmoil where people go through unpleasant things. There is death and embarrassment and agony. Nobody in this movie has an easy time of it, and it can be pretty hard to watch. We have all these characters that we are introduced to and whose lives we become caught up in and over the course of the movie and it breaks every single one of them.

The intertwined plots of the movie all take place over the course of a single day and night in L.A. After the pre-amble, which sets up in our minds the notion of unlikely coincidences bringing peoples’ lives together, we are introduced to our cast through one of several artfully executed musical montages. There’s a brilliant young prodigy who is a contestant on the longest running quiz show in history “What do Kids Know.” There’s the aging host of the show. There’s his estranged daughter who is wasting her life on cocaine. There’s a previous contestant on the show who is now a washed up salesman. There’s an erstwhile but lonely and awkward police officer. There’s an old man dying of cancer, his nurse, his young wife, and his son he hasn’t spoken to in ten or fifteen years who runs seminars that train men how to seduce women.

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November 6, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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