Magnolia ★★★★★

Saw this on 35mm - I didn't get the chance when it first came out, and it was a totally overwhelming experience. This is one of those movies I have a more personal relationship with than most others, and this viewing reminded me not only why I fell in love with it fifteen years ago, but how much I'm still the person I was then. I loved American Beauty and Fight Club around the same time, and still like them a lot, but in some ways I've outgrown the reasons they appealed to me so strongly as a teenager. With Magnolia, I've gone from seeing it as a perfect movie to seeing the ways it's maybe not quite perfect, but it sticks with me even as I get older and the characters and moments I relate to have shifted - now, for instance, Philip Seymour Hoffman hits me harder, not just because he's gone but because I appreciate his quiet, selfless compassion and how rare that is as an adult. Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood are more precisely crafted, but I love Magnolia even (especially) when it's messy - if it's not the best movie ever, it's the one that I could point to as encompassing everything I love about what movies can be.

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