by Gary Johnson
When Paul Thomas Anderson began writing Magnolia, he wanted "something small and intimate"--something he could shoot in 30 days. But as he wrote, his characters began to take over. Working with a theme of estrangement and parental relationships, Anderson discovered that relationships beget relationships. And soon he was weaving a complex network of characters and stories. Eventually he had at least twelve main characters and nine story lines. While the resulting movie is nearly three hours long, it nonetheless still feels intimate, but not necessarily so small anymore.
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