Magnolia: the Interventions of the Past’s Melancholy

The City

Magnolia is a movie about the interventions of the past’s melancholy. It begins with three coincidental parallel stories. The theme’s characteristic, coincidental, shows as a big part in each of the collateral stories. The film’s casual thought, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, becomes a benchmark from the beginning to the end. The narratives represent fate and end with one common trait. In the following scene, the film’s main story begins, focusing on each individual’s daily life in the San Fernando Valley. Firstly, heavy rains never ended. Secondly, it made everything wet. Thirdly, ordinary days, at no time, always end regularly as well. Many people believed that rain has another meaning to it.

Once upon a time, Earl is lying in bed with his illness and Phil, his nurse. In another revelation, Jimmy Gator has a dilemma about his past mistakes. Frank cannot forgive his former father for leaving him and his mother in the past. Donnie is still crying over his feelings. Besides, his intimacy and genius in the past did not apply in the current story. Claudia wants to be loved no matter what she becomes today.

Officer Jim Kurring is religious yet afraid of himself and his job. Linda cannot forgive those around her. Stanley is a smart kid. His father never relates to him like kids in general. Magnolia is a mosaic story, and it goes against the past’s melancholy interventions. Moreover, all these characters intersect and align a piece of the puzzle. The point is they can move on with their foretime. Certainly, they all had to face such an immense wall.

Deconstructing the Detail

In a city where millions of people live inside, people, even though we never know, converge with their respective lives. Simply put, everyone has a story to tell. Everyone affects our lives with each other. Humans cannot live without direct or indirect socialization. The expressions of these characters teach us that the past can affect the life of every person. The same goes for the characters in this film. The emphasized point is when they get an unavoidable event.

All the characters thought they were okay. They all have stories, pain, trauma, and experiences. Nevertheless, they cannot describe it once for all. All of these stories also have an intact place where they come from: the past. Words, faces, or motions are not an association between people. The trigger is the desperate inclination within the rivet past as the center. It is tough to depict and clarify in detail. With a grip on the Bible, Anderson reaches Magnolia as a film about human suffering inside social structures interventions and the past’s melancholy. In short, it suppresses the anxiety of the characters as much as possible. The story focuses on the television industry in an urbanized valley, unlike Boogie Nights, another work by Paul Thomas Anderson, which focuses on the porn industry spanning two decades.

The Possibility

Magnolia is a film about the possibility, in addition to interventions and the past’s melancholy. However, it is not just a possibility in specific points. Everything has a reason. Coincidentally, even though many characters play an active or passive role in it, these humans have a melancholy that connects these events. It is like a soap opera: full of possibilities, emotional outbursts, complications, and many more. The peak of the film sets when the characters feel discouraged. The suffering inhabited their relationship. As a result, just like humans in general, they are only afraid to admit it. Communication is difficult, and misunderstandings are often the reason humans are scared to act even in a short period.

On top of the pyramids and bleak landscapes, Magnolia tells the story of a television-centric relationship. Earl is a television producer. His life is not long anymore, and he was certainly not a great dad for Frank. He left his first wife reasonably and left Frank and his first wife lying sick to death. It is the reason why Frank changed his name and made himself well-known through Seduce and Destroy, a program to motivate men. Linda is the second wife of Earl. Even though she got married for financial reasons, she blamed herself for never sympathizing with Earl until he was at the end of his life. Therefore, she escaped her dilemma by consuming drugs on her own.

Stanley is a genius kid. He is the star of a show called What Do Kids Know?. However, his father exploited his brain. He never received special treatment like a father-and-son relationship. Donnie is a former quiz champion. His life no longer has meaning. He is so obsessed with a new orientation. He embarrasses himself for confessing his feelings for one of the bartenders at the bar he met. For explicitly abusing Claudia, the solitary daughter of Jimmy Gator, the blame put Jimmy for several reasons. Claudia is now experiencing the pain of consuming cocaine while locking herself in an apartment. Officer Jim almost discovered his routine. On his first impression, he immediately fell in love with Claudia and invited her to dinner. Such central conflict, from early of Magnolia as the past’s melancholy interventions, has a deconstructing of way.

The Central Conflict

Magnolia is a stairway with hierarchical relationships between the characters. It centers on a notch and a single environment, resulting in many cult images in each layer. Consequently, not all of the characters erase themselves. However, they wear the perfect face to cover up their concerns, past, and reality for a thousand reasons. The mask is what causes all the characters to shape their interface relationships. Frank is aggressive in front of people. Behind the scene, revenge of the past is the mask. Donnie is just relying on his genius mask. With her financial eyes, Linda feels the profound remorse from other characters. They are also what caused all of the characters never to have a relationship.

A sort of veil intervened with all the characters. It tells how melancholy takes part in a meeting. At the climax of Magnolia, all these past’s melancholy interventions dead-end figures must necessarily shed their masks. They strive to communicate whatever barriers they face right above their heads. There was a heavenly intervention in the form of a frog rain. Indeed, it is crucial when the representation of all the characters from start to finish has to end with a spiritual approach. However, it is very scientific, tolerable, and logical. Imagine everyone knows tomorrow is the end of the world. What do you want to do in the last 24 hours? Do you forgive the people you hurt in the past? Spend time with your folks? Steal? Kill? Have sex for the first and last time? Do you want to repent and cry over your past, regrets, and sins?

Happy Ending

The rain of frogs becomes a reality difficult to accept but also easy to understand. It is an act of faith that we always encounter in our daily life. Remember that all of this has a reason if you do not think in religious terms. As a result of the frog rain, all the suffering, pain, sadness, anger, and melancholy fell into one. They have to face the truth with their lives. No longer worry about remembering the past and the present. After that, who was with you at the end? Did Claudia and her mother get along again? Did Linda arrive at the hospital on time? Could Earl look back the last time to his son he left behind in the past?

Its nature, seen from a physical point of view, causes harm. However, massive damage could save one or more people in a day. The day the frog rain exists was the beginning, the end, the life, the death, the trauma, the pain, the love, the anger, the happiness, and it all happened. In short, the frog rain encourages all characters to introspect. They have the opportunity to relive, to forgive themselves, and to start a new life.

In contrast to the presence of the corpses of frogs, they might be thankful for being safe. After all, Magnolia is such the interventions of the past’s melancholy. You would also never be happy if this rain of frogs never happened. If all the characters never met by themselves, Claudia would never give you the purest smile at the end of the film.

Bibliography

About the author

Salman Al Farisi is the owner of Calxylian and is an elitist who has enjoyed and studied various mediums. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 2020 from the Haluoleo University, Indonesia, where he studied English Literature, Film Criticism, Cultural Studies, Literary Theory, and Literary Criticism. He lives in Kendari in his mom's basement, now unemployed and ghostwriter, life with his cats, and is looking for the future.

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