Great Movie Openings will be an ongoing article which focuses on 1 film that know how to grab you from scene 1.
Today’s Scene is from: Magnolia
Magnolia is my favorite film of Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s also one of my favorite movies period. The brilliant way it weaves multiple stories into a resolution, each separate but connected. Just like us.
The opening of Magnolia is genius because the narration basically sets up the ending right away. Most people are shocked, and a lot of people hated, about the incident that brings on the end of this film. However, if you pay attention to the opening it should not come as any surprise.
What’s great about the opening is that we hear stories about things that seem to strange to be either just chance or coincidence. We’ve all been there. You meet a person, who in some way is connected to you in a weird way. No real reason for it, but it feels more than just an odd occurrence. Are these people or things placed in our paths to have some meaning to our lives? Or is it that we all are connected regardless if we know each other. We can all become a difference in someone’s life just by our presence. It almost seems to be that we are all part of one element. One gigantic tree that just splits off from the same trunk.
The opening of Magnolia gives us different scenarios and lays flat the idea that maybe our choices aren’t made by us. It almost seems to posit the idea of a predestined path. What we think we have control of, we don’t, and by an invisible string we are pulled toward our destiny.
Magnolia truly is a masterpiece and it’s filled with great performances and ideas. The opening is so much important to how the movie plays out, and it is something unto itself. With beautiful narration by Ricky Jay you are at once put directly into the directors hands and if you can believe or go along with the opening stories, the movie will play even better for you.
Included is the opening and ending scene as I feel they are both part of the same, it truly does come full circle.