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Magnolia Essay

1777 words - 7 pages

Directed by P.T. Anderson, Magnolia, is a dynamic collage of multiple intertwined plots to form one central story of "coincidence, chance, human action, shared media, past history and divine intervention that builds to an unforgettable climax."(Synopsis, 1999) The characters and themes present in this film were derived from the lyrics of Aimee Mann, a contemporary artist who chooses to portray the rather grim side of the human experience. Using the poetic vision of Mrs. Mann's lyrics, Anderson gives the characters lyrical skeleton a total embodiment of real world flesh and blood that is then adapted to the screen. To further our understanding of this film we chose two of Aimee Mann's songs. First we will analyze the song "Momentum" and then "Build that Wall" both of which will help us connect to the characters better and see how the various themes are used.The track entitled Momentum by Aimee Mann is a foundational piece to the puzzle created onscreen. This song not only defines many of the underlying themes but also gives us a glimpse into the mindset of almost every character in the film. The most prevalent connection made in the song is that of Claudia and her father Jimmy. As in the chorus first line "And I know life is getting shorter" both Claudia and her father are both aware that they're dying. Claudia is slowly killing herself by sitting in her apartment doing line after line everyday, and Jim collapses during the show because he is dying of cancer. Also, in the last line of the first verse stating "Even when it's approaching torture, I've got my routine." Not only does this apply to Claudia with her drug addiction and Jimmy with the game show but Jim's daily routine as a cop and Stanley's never ending study schedule. The next line "Oh for the sake of momentum" is pivotal to the theme in which I will discuss later. It also highlights, Stanley, a very important character in the film. The scene where Stanley won't walk up to the podium in the final round shows us that we can challenge momentum. For example, Donny's role in the film is to show us what Stanley's future would have been like if he hadn't takenfate into his own hands. After reading this next line many scenes come to mind just from Mann's working of her lyrics. It goes "All those minutes and days and hours I have frittered away." Just by the word frittered you can picture Claudia sitting nervously in her apartment with a mirror full of coke in front of her, Stanley in the library with a pile of books in front of him and Jimmy doing the same game show everyday while behind the scenes we watch him turn to alcohol to dull the physical and emotional pain he is in. Also fitting into this is the lines saying "I'm condemning the future to death so that it can match the past." This line is a key point in the development of the characters in this story. Most notably is Frank T.J. Mackey. He grew up in a family with no father figure and had to play the role of caregiver to his...

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