Magnolia ★★★★½

"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite thy borders with frogs."

If Blue Velvet took my life, then Magnolia is my resurrection. Here we have a film with the grandest scale imaginable. Emotionally moving to such an extent that it makes funerals look like birthday parties.

What message, I think, PTA's Magnolia is trying to deliver is that everyone you meet is struggling at something. Every stranger you bump into has a story to tell. Everyone feels lonely, scared and insecure, some people are just good at hiding it. On the outside, Tom Cruise is a misogynistic self-help guru, Julianne Moore is a loving wife, Philip Baker Hall is a cheerful gameshow host, John C. Reilly is a tough-spirited police officer. But, as you have guessed, no one is who they make themselves out to be. Everyone wears a mask. Everyone is avoiding themselves. In the end, to confront one's true identity, all we need is something unexpected to knock our life off balance. A downpour, for instance. Only then we would sit down and think of all the piss around us, contemplate all the shit we had done. In the film, a downpour did happen. And the characters did pause their lives to think. Frank Mackey thought about his father. Donnie Smith thought about his oral surgery. Officer Jim Kurring thought about the things Claudia had said. Luis Guzman, well, I think Luis Guzman was still thinking about goat milk.

Magnificent work, PTA.

December Challenge.

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