A timely revisit to a film I have not seen for many years, timely because of the sudden and surprising death of one of modern cinema’s best actors. The film is the 1996 American satirical drama Magnolia and the actor is of course Philip Seymour Hoffman who won the Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, one of the oldest award bodies, for his role as Nurse Phil Parma.
The film was directed by the award winning Paul Thomas Anderson who has regularly worked with Hoffman on films which included The Master (2012) for which Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Hard Eight (1996) an American neo-noir crime thriller, Boogie Nights in 1997 the story of a porn star known by the name of Dirk Diggler who became famous because of his extraordinarily large penis and Punch Drunk Love (2002).
Written by Anderson Magnolia is a magnificent multi layered film with some superb imaginative camera work from cinematographer Robert Elswit. It almost defies a description other than to explain it as a mosaic of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness and meaning in modern day San Fernando. A sadly comedic piece that at times can have you near to tears and others times can almost have you rolling in the aisle’s. Although all the actors are at peak form, which includes Tom Cruise, Hoffman steals every scene he is in, playing against Jason Robards as the dying Earl Partridge, not an easy task. He inhabits his character something he did in all his movies. Film fans will miss this man, but thankfully he left us a superb body of work that we can revisit to remind us of the skill Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to his roles. RIP