Magnolia

Anderson’s third feature takes the theme of chance and applies it to the stories of a cadre of Angelinos on the brink, where chance meetings both threaten to disrupt a fragile order and offer a shot at redemption springing from unexpected sources. Two classic, titanic father-figures structure the film’s expansive focus: dying movie mogul Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) and falling-from-grace quiz show host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), from whose turbulent lives flower intertwining threads: estranged children, disillusioned spouses, and the aftermath of fame, both real-time and in reflection. However, with such colossal downfall comes unexpected, life-saving absolution. Magnolia, a huge critical success upon release, significantly widens the scope and complexity of Anderson’s interrogation of the American family in spectacular fashion.

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Paul Thomas Anderson

Inherent Vice 1

Inherent Vice

Adapting a Thomas Pynchon novel for the screen is a task at which none have succeeded before Anderson, who sculpts a highly amusing, atmospheric screenplay out of Pynchon’s novel of the same name. Joaquin Phoenix returns for his second work with Anderson as Larry “Doc” Sportello, an incessantly pot-smoking private detective on the trail of

The Master 4

The Master

WWII veteran and consummate alcoholic Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), aimless and adrift following the end of the war and his reintroduction into American society, takes up with Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams). Dodd, the leader of a shadowy movement called “The Cause”—which bears more than a passing resemblance to

There Will Be Blood 1

There Will Be Blood

Anderson’s features, while always sharpening their edges as they go, have never been hard-as-nails as this adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!”. Daniel Day-Lewis inhabits oilman Daniel Plainview, a leathery explorer intent on creating and quickly expanding an oil empire during the late-19th Century. With his adopted son as his partner, Plainview soon strikes it

Punch Drunk Love 4

Punch Drunk Love

With two sprawling, epic works preceding it, with this film Anderson sought to make a “Friday night film,” a short, compact entertainment in the classical mode—as much as possible with Anderson, anyway. Reinvigorating Adam Sandler’s career as Barry Egan, a neurotic plunger salesman with seven sisters and a newfound harmonium, this unassuming, highly unconventional film

Boogie Nights 1

Boogie Nights

With a script first developed in his teens and a story previously filmed as a short, Anderson delivered this wake-up call to the American cinema, weaving a poignant, tragic-yet-ultimately hopeful tapestry of lives in the late-70s Southern California “adult film” industry. Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), patriarch of a small studio in the San Fernando Valley,