This is my first time ‘reblogging’ a post I found particularly interesting from other movie reviewers, so please be patient with me as I stumble through the appropriate steps and process. I couldn’t help but following this article and while it is brief compared to my usual reviews, I wanted to comment because it brings up a film that I’ve grown to like quite a bit. Sure, there are obvious issues with the film, the occasional plot heavy, non-linear overlapping story lines and fragmented character arcs, but it also contains some very fine performances from Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, and Phillip Baker Hall. Sure, Juliane Moore and John C. Riley are here too, among a handful of other notable character and bit-part actors, but the main roles are the most developed and sustaining.
What Merchbot Movie Reviews points out is a prevailing reaction to the film the first go around – namely audiences and critics alike unable to weed through the films problematic elements to enjoy the film overall. I’ve already commented about the tangles above, and while Paul Thomas Anderson was riding pretty high from Boogie Nights (1997) and the quiet but well done indie hit Hard Eights (1996) some felt his work in Magnolia was convoluted, artsy for the sake of it by a gifted auteur. But Magnolia eventually made a profit, though modest compared to the $37 million dollar budget, and went on to receive high marks from audiences and critics as outlined by the folks over at Rottentomatoes.com.
Magnolia is a film that clearly stands out as one of the best from the late 90’s and serves to remind us that Paul Thomas Anderson is a filmmaker of merit and someone who will continue to deliver memorable films. It’s a pleasure to see his work in Magnolia, to watch him stretching and coming into his own which would ultimately lay the groundwork for Punch Drunk Love (2002) and There Will Be Blood (2003).