Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

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

Movie R 1999 188 minutes
Magnolia Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 17+

A bit self-important

It's long. It's engaging. And I think you want to know how it ends. Enjoyable? Eh. Interesting, yes. I think you want all of the pieces to add up to something a bit more compelling, but still, it's beautifully shot.
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.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (2):

Given the complexity and ambition of this film, the 28-year-old Paul Thomas Anderson certainly displayed brilliance and talent in the writing and direction of it. That said, Magnolia remains a highly flawed yet intense piece that contains over-long, nearly unwatchable sequences of great actors doing their best with forced and often ridiculous plotting. Anderson himself admitted 16 years after the release that it was too long, and that bagginess may chase away viewers who could otherwise enjoy good performances and benefit from the film's general warning that cruelty to and neglect of children is an ongoing problem with far-reaching consequences that we all must deal with.

Especially trying, and unbelievable, are the ravings of a drug-addled wife who married her husband for money but has fallen in love with him now that he's dying. The tribulations of a sweet, humiliated kid on a live game show are also wrenching. And it's far-fetched to think a man of high intelligence with normal teeth would believe his love life would improve if he could only afford braces. The tribulations of an overbearing but kindly cop feel completely dispensable. If Anderson one day cuts this down by a good hour, it will probably allow what is best in the film to be far more affecting and accessible.

Movie Details

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