Magnolia ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

To be fair, this movie presses lots of my buttons: motivational speakers, game shows, grown-up children...... Incredible dialogue, incredible performances from the entire cast. I had never seen Tom Cruise in anything before besides Tropic Thunder and Risky Business and now I know what he looks like and also I love him. Perfect vibrating energy, muscling through it.

Lessons? Your actions matter. Some things you can't take back. Your actions will affect how you die, who you die with. Listen to what the world is telling you. Be kind to children. Be kind. I wept when they all sang. I'm always suspicious of broad concepts like "the tapestry of humanity" or "the human spirit," because when they're used to market shows I assume that the shows in question have no specificity or thesis -- but when the cast started singing it really did feel like everyone was united in their stupid cruelties and regrets. Prompts a better imagining of "the tapestry of humanity": not woven together by nebulous "human" characteristics or vague emotion, but bound together by each other's choices and mistakes. Big sprawling mass tied by 100000 strings that keep pulling on each other -- this is a tapestry, fine.

I was crying continuously throughout this whole movie but it was hopeful. Frog rain: look what can happen when there is a reset, when we have opportunities to open our hearts! The frog rain made me miss non-COVID times, when the elements really affect us, when there's hope and community when rain comes, when you can go places and meet people and be set on different paths. Hard to be open to the world when the world is shut down, hard to imagine futures.

The person I want to be at my bedside when I die right now won't be, most likely. They'll be across the country or they'll be dead. This is my fault in some ways. I don't cry about this in my life but I cried about it a lot by proxy while watching this movie. I am rarely moved by the tragedies of my own life but I cry at Wall-E, at people telling me interests from their childhood, claw machines, televised competitions, imagining my mom as a kid, other things. I guess I'm like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, just looking on and weeping.

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