Jackson’s review published on Letterboxd:
It's kinda insane just how much Paul Thomas Anderson takes from Robert Altman. I wouldn't call it stealing, it's not Quentin Tarantino levels, but I bet there's something in every Altman movie that influenced PTA in one way or another. Whether it be characters, scenes, shots, actors, plot structures, or any other thing. It's interesting.
I was really interested early on, but there's just too many characters that I just lose focus and interest in any of the stories. I feel like any one of these stories could've made a great film on their own but putting them all together like this (for me, at least) just lessens the impact.
I feel like I might've liked it more if it was a somewhat more standard editing, just playing each story through on its own and, as it goes on, the connections are revealed. Like, for example, you start with the Tim Robbins story with the dog, and later, you tell the story with Frances McDormand and hey! There's Tim Robbins again! Or, switch them around, you see Tim Robbins as a minor character in that story only for him to get a bigger part later. Then, by the time its over, you want to watch it again and see the connections in the earlier stories you might've missed when you weren't thinking about how these might've been connected.
That is a common problem I have with movies like this. Sometimes they work, like with Magnolia or even Altman's earlier film Nashville, and sometimes they don't, like this or the Coens' Hail Caesar. Worst part is I don't even know what it is about them that makes some work and some don't. Is it the stories themselves, is it the performances, is it the editing, I don't know! Films are complicated!