(Michael Bowen, Melinda Dillon, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1999) 2010 / New Line)
Overview: 'Magnolia' chronicles such diverse occurrences as a suicide turned homicide by a quirk of timing; a motivational speaker motivated by rage; and a quiz kid rendered stupid by a lightning strike. Besides Cruise, look for more great acting from Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Jason Robards, Philip Baker Hall and Julianne Moore.
Blu-ray Verdict: There are a few different catagories of film. For example, a film such as, say, 'STAR WARS', or 'E.T.', maybe, is almost universally lauded as an enjoyable, if somewhat unchallenging, film to watch. Then, you have films like 'MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO' or 'MEMENTO', films that march to a beat all their own and demand that the audience pay close attention.
This is the category that 'MAGNOLIA' falls under. This is not a fun romp to injest on a random Tuesday evening. This film demands your attention from the first moment, and doesn't let go until after the end of the haunting closing title song by the amazing Aimee Mann. The flow and ebb of this film is akin to a heartbeat, with natural pauses, natural progressions, natural rhythms.
The story and plot have been regurgitated ad nauseum, so no need to do a book report on it here. However, the plot is so interwoven into the actions and choices of the characters in this film that it's almost secondary. As you go through this day-in-the-life of all characters involved, and start to see how they are all connected, each revelation heart-breakingly and expertly built upon the next, untill, by the end of the film, we're left with the 2 new lovers, closing on the hope that they will not only overcome the heartache and betrayal of their earlier lives, but maybe avoid those self-same mistakes in their future.
There's one other factor that goes into watching this film that, while not taking away from it, is absolutely essential in understanding and appreciating it, and that's a certain level of experience and understanding with the lonliness that the film exudes like sweat. Let's face it, and not to be too rude or cliche, but if a person to young to have experienced loss and betrayal, or a twenty or thirty-something person who married the first person they ever met and wrangles 3 or 4 kids while trying to keep a family together and listening to the local easy listening radio station in the mini-van with the soccer sticker on the side watches this film, there will be an immediate and visceral reaction of disdain for the film.
The issues in this film hit home the most with people who've lived a life a little outside the norm. The issues in this film are not swept under the rug, they are right there in your face, laid bare and ugly, and for some people that's just too much for them to face if they've never taken the time to face those issues in their own lives.
I'm not saying the film can't be appreciated by people I've described above; I'm merely offering my input on why some people have such a strange hatred of the film. All in all, I find this film beautiful, heartbreakingly real, and true. [JU] This is a Widescreen presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
'Magnolia' Video Diary - Covers the Blossoming of a Modern-Day Masterwork.
Frank T.J. Mackey Seminar
Seduce and Destory Infomercial
Aimee Mann 'Save Me' Music Video