Judging from the comments at the Amazon.com
and the IMDB
reviews, either you really like this movie or you don't. For lack of something or other, most of the reviewers commented about the technique or the length of film. But I wonder what they really thought of it.
Well I liked it. For some strange reason or other I could relate to all the characters in the movie. The kid who was under pressure. The fumbling cop. The vice-ridden woman. The man with the father who abandoned him. They all had one thing in common, they just didn't feel comfortable with themselves.
I think the one thing that I took out of the movie is that bad or strange things happen. Every day. They don't happen to special people, or people with bad luck or people who live in poor circumstances or people who are less functional. My secondary school teacher's husband suffered from fits and died from a brain tumour. My friend Sharm feels like she can't go back to her home. I had an abusive childhood. We weren't singled out.
Bad or strange things do happen. Even the less significant things like someone forgetting your birthday or an appointment. Or the power company accidently shutting down your electricity in winter. Magnolia isn't about surviving the bad things like Terms of Endearment was. When bad things happen to us, in the aftermath we often feel like we deserved it somehow. Or else we could have prevented it if we weren't so weak. But if we realise that sometimes it is perhaps just a coincidence, we can feel less to blame.
PT Anderson, the director and writer of the movie, has created an earnest way of showing that if we all learned to let things go and not to hold onto all the bad things in our past too tightly, we might be able to learn to live with ourselves. And perhaps find a bit more happiness in our lives.