Magnolia opens with a short vignette on Chance and how things happen clearly without manipulation yet often have surprising outcomes or consequences. This sets us up for a number of separate stories set in L.A. during the same day and where chance plays its cards. We have an LAPD officer (John C Reilly) who is lonely and looking for love, a self help guru (Tom Cruise) who teaches men how to score with women while his TV executive father (Jason Robards) is about to die and is being comforted by his nurse (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and his wife(Julianne Moore). On the other side of town is the game show host who is cheating on his wife and has been diagnosed with cancer, his drug addicted daughter, the new contestant who is cleaning up on his show and a former childhood star now trapped in a downward spiral and confused by his sexuality.
P.T. Anderson again shows his huge talent at film production and the fact everything caught on camera has meaning and is meant to be there for a reason shows the kind of detail he goes to in his productions. Yes Magnolia is overly long at 3 hours but Anderson's direction, the breathtaking cinematography and the superb acting and writing pull you in for the duration. Whether you enjoy the experience seems to split opinion, but if you enjoyed his Boogie Nights then you will really enjoy this drama about chance and what life may hold when you least expect it. Highly recommended.