Watched Jun 10, 2012
This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.
Walter Andrade said:
Magnolia is a distinct flower. It hold a reproductive system so old that some scientists believe that it was one of the firsts in life history. My analysis of this title and the poster leads me to believe that it represents the need to find love - in the vision of the movie, the real and original substance capable of gather people, the first element responsible for the birth of life.
There is a bunch of different histories here, all of them linked by the mark of Sin. The screenplay bounds with them all to lead them to the same point: reckless. The first part (after the prologue) is some sort of characters presentation. You know the characters for what they do wrong, most part of them are presented doing some "stupid" thing. Some few are shown as the good and humble ones. Then, it starts to rain. All the things those characters had done wrong starts to spin as a vortex leading them to approach death and madness. When the rain stops, the problems had come to their climax and they're starting to be solved, even thought the film does not shows any character in a good situation. This is the skeleton of the story.
The characters represents different kinds of sins, with some special attention to luxury. All the "bad" characters with the possible exception of Claudia, the junkie, and Stanley's father, taken by usury, they all have some problematic relationship with sexuality. That's one reason that makes me believe that, despites some good reviews I've read around, there is a freudian finger here.
Of course that the biggest representation of this luxury is the pseudo-macho Frank T.J. Mackey (one of the bests Tom Cruise's performances ever); the own representation of the devil. He is one of those stupid Americans who teach other stupid Americans how to "catch a pussy easily". But we can find it in Linda (Julianne Moore is awesome), in Earl who dies regretting he cheated the love of his life, and in Donnie who needs money to buy things he don't need to make the barman loves him. Also, there is Jimmy Gator, the quizmaster who touched his daughter, and also he is great to understand the social part of the film. The disruption of relationships, family and social entertainment of post-modern society can be easily studied from this character. He drinks like a Cadillac 4.0 and still presents the show with a make-up that makes he looks like made of magma or mud. His program objectifies children to make them look like a knowledge machine, and still people love it.
Death here works almost as a punishment. The biggest sinners of the film are the ones with incurable decease getting close to death. It seems like the mistakes they've made had become they body vulnerable - if you recall, in this movie there are no coincidences. One of the greatest parts of this movie is the scene when Earl is dying and talking to Phil (one of the good characters, he choices to stay with Earl to watch for him in his final hours only to help) about reckless and lifetime. The same speech, however, spoke in another "language" is this one where Gator tries to say he is sorry to his wife.
It probably would be unfair to say what it the central idea of this movie. Even though there is a strong presence of Christian ideas and morality, no God gives salvation to anyone here. Instead, the final scenes seems to implies that salvation in inside good people, capable of love and forgiveness.
This could be a really truly awesome movie for me. However, this morality makes it looks a little bit cliché - even though the style of this movie is quite original - and this huge difference between good and bad people is annoying and too romantic for a movie that attempt to suggest a solution for those problems.