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Earl Partridge (Jason Robards)
Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore)
Phil Parma (Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise)
Jimmy Gator (Phillip Baker Hall)
Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly)
Donnie Smith (William H. Macy)
Stanley (Jeremy Blackman)

Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Rated R for strong language, drug use, some violence, sexuality, and nudity Running Time: 190 minutes Distributed by New Line Cinema
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Magnolia is an amazing character driven masterpiece. Magnolia takes place on one modern day in the San Fernando Valley. The characters include a dying father (Robarbs). A young wife (Moore), a male nurse (Hoffman), a famous lost son (Cruise), a boy genius (Blackman), an ex-boy genius (Macy), a game show host (Hall), an estranged daughter, and a shy police officer (Reilly). Each of the nine characters become a part of multiplicity of plots, but one story. Through a collusion of coincidence, chance, humanity, past and divine intervention these characters weave through each other's livers on a day that will become unforgettable for all of them.

Magnolia is truly a gem of a film. It is a well-done established and bold piece of storytelling from Paul Thomas Anderson. Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed Magnolia. Anderson's only previous credit was 1997's Boogie Nights. Anderson does once again push the envelope with some subject matter involved with the characters in Magnolia. However, Anderson carefully sketches each character and scene into an incredible script and film. The story sounds like it would be confusing with all the subplots and characters, but its not. The film molds into a story with all the subplots coming together. Also, the film does have a Pulp Fiction type of ending, but unlike Pulp Fiction, Magnolia is presented in chronological order.

The acting ensemble in Magnolia is full of great performances. Tom Cruise deserves an Oscar for his portrayal of sex-guru Frank Mackey. Cruise is emotionally explosive in this film. Cruise does deliver one of his best performances with this character. Cruise took a risk and exploited it with this character that nobody would expect him to portray. Julianne Moore delivers another terrific performance as a young wife who is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Moore has to be the hardest working woman in Hollywood this year. She has previously delivered great work this year in Cookie's Fortune and An Ideal Husband. Jason Robarbs is grumpy and true as the dying bed ridden Earl Partridge. Philip Seymour Hoffman is tender and kind as the Earl's personal nurse Phil Parma. John C. Reilly is very admirable as police officer Jim Kurring. Last but not least, William H. Macy is soft spoken and lonely as ex-kid genius Donnie Smith. The whole acting ensemble in Magnolia is flat out awesome.

Magnolia is a film that might not click well with audiences that do not look at films qualitatively. As I said before, Cruise and Anderson push the envelope. However, the film is about everyday people in an everyday world. Magnolia is a marvelous film that is sure to receive many awards and nominations this year.

Report Card Grade: A+

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