Movie review by Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Magnolia Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 17+

Drugs, sex, language in '90s drama about child abuse.

R 1999 188 minutes

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 16+

Based on 2 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

nothing too bad

i love the film, i watched it with my 12 year old son and it wasnt half bad, there was some brief sex but the way the talented director paul thomas anderson does camera work is quick zooms in a scorsese like style, these sex scenes are only included in the montages where there are those 3 or 4 second long zooms but if there is going to be some sex it will be only be brief and your son has probably seen worse or will see worse in the coming years, now there is quite a bit of bad language in this film (over 90 f bombs) but the films runtime is 3hrs and 8 minutes, when you're researching how much bad language a film has always consider the runtime as for example a film like whiplash has quite alot of profanity's but since its under 100 minutes you would think it dosent have as much bad language in it as this 3 hour long movie called magnolia, but maybe if magnolia was 1 hour 40 mins you would let your kid watch it since it has less cursing, anyways lets face it your child already knows these words so hearing them a couple more times wont hurt. there is barely any violence in this movie but there is a chunk of suicide, also a man has a bloody face after falling off of a ladder, nothing much really. there is quite a bit of drugs as there is a character called claudia who is a drug addict and snorts lines of cocaine often but i know my child isn't gonna do drugs and my family is pretty insensitive to the subject as we watch border control together and shows which involve people drug raiding so we don't protect our children from that material at least me and my wife dont. overall this is an all time classic starring, tom cruise, philip seymour hoffman, julianne moore, john c reilly and more, it is a 3 hour epic and is definetely worth your time and kids over the age of 12s' time, it also has a lesson that you should never do anything you think you will regret in the future (child abuse and drugs are examples of that shown in the movie) thanks for reading i hope this review found you well.

This title has:

Great messages
age 18+

Magnolias Here and There But None To Be Enjoyed

Magnolia has some good performances, some good cinematography, was Oscar-nominated, but what about its story...or some worthiness? If you enjoy a lot of actor abuse, verbal abuse (even professional child abuse) you could somehow like this movie. If you've ever wondered what a movie might be like that's written and directed by a self confessed cocaine user, under-aged pornography addict, as well as being, Quote; “my favourite filmmaker copycat” - then this could be getting close to realising your dream (perhaps this might also sadly sum up Hollywood today and some audiences) Have tried to sit this through several times (only because of the cast and the hugely conflicting reviews!) but each time was left wanting to throw something at the screen or run screaming from the room. 'Over-everything' is one description that readily comes to mind but, other unprintable ones are first and foremost. Many others have neatly summed-up this tosh very well but few can ever do it the justice it deserves. Writer/director P.T. Anderson can’t even write a single paragraph that's not filled with vulgar language or unnecessary four-letter words and 90% of his characters are not worth caring for. Maybe this could be another example of the modern Academies short-sightedness spotlighting one of the reasons why so many patrons stopped going to the movies around this time, also why many movies of this ilk don't deliver the good returns expected. If your life is so uneventful that you can throw away over three (yes 3) laborious hours of visual splendour being wasted on a theme so repugnantly ugly - then you're welcome to this excruciatingly heavy-handed overindulgence. The movie plays out like several movies in one, with none of them much good or making much sense when edited together - mild interest soon gives way to boredom. As for the director’s favourite singer being played endlessly in the background, this just becomes another annoyance. When a moviemaker publicly makes a statement like: "I'll make pretty good movies the rest of my life but I guess Magnolia is, for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make". Then please let me say: Stay out of our lives P.T. Anderson - way out. But of course, those either on the payroll or who consider themselves as knowing better than most will disagree.

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Crash Poster Image


    Powerful look at racism, but too intense for kids.

    age 16+
  • Born on the Fourth of July Poster Image

    Born on the Fourth of July

    Unflinching, violent story of Vietnam vet turned activist.

    age 17+
  • The Savages Poster Image

    The Savages

    Affecting adult drama has mature themes, content.

    age 17+

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate