This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

(i don't actually spoil the movie at all but this review is just sappy enough for me to feel obligated to put some buffer over it)

Yeah, it is perhaps a bit clunky, a bit twee, a bit overambitious in scope. The writing isn't always there and a couple character arcs are pretty shoddy. The whole thing is at times stunningly unsubtle.

Yeah, the cinematography, pacing, and acting are top notch. It's a fucking PTA film. And when the characters are good, they're great. I wanted so much to give Jim a hug even if he is a filthy pig. Frank is as much the emotional core of the film as Jim is the moral. Phil is a beacon of empathy and love in a film bound by the same. Donnie made me feel that special embarrassment of seeing someone I used to be and have not completely left behind. I'm also a big proponent of film led more by themes than plots and I suppose death, love, regret, forgiveness, and the fallout of having a shitty dad are as good themes as any.

Yeah, I cried a couple times. I'm a human and this movies aspires to speak to a localized-but-universal human experience. I also have a lot of love to give and I don't know where to put it. I also fear that my truth disqualifies me from love. I am often too cowardly to make good with those I've hurt. What makes Magnolia exceptional isn't that it manages to nail as many complex emotional realities as it does so much as it is its empathy to want better for its every subject and its wisdom in knowing that better doesn't find you, you work your way to it. You'd be a fool to think that even half of the main characters in this movie will ever get better. But they can. And whatever grace we once relied on god to give is our burden and joy to give each other and ourselves.