Magnolia, a Drama Full of Reality

Magnolia invites you to delve into your past and question certain of its elements. For instance, overcoming trauma, developing an unfulfilled personality, and feeling guilty about committing certain acts.
Magnolia, a Drama Full of Reality

Last update: 18 October, 2021

Films that make you think about life and all the different problems that can happen are useful tools for self-criticism. One such example is Magnolia, a drama that’s full of true-to-life stories.

There are many times you might find yourself facing challenges that test you to your absolute limit. For example, heartbreak, illness, insecurity, and depression, etc. Furthermore, they often happen unexpectedly.

To a certain extent, you’re extremely vulnerable to situations that you might find difficult to manage. This film is full of situations like this. It was nominated for three Oscars.

The story

American, Paul Thomas Anderson directed this film. He has an extensive career in the film industry. A couple of his films are Hard Eight and Phantom Thread. The latter was nominated for an Oscar.

The plot of Magnolia depicts the lives of various characters and their concerns, worries, and frustrations. It also deals with the issue of confidence. Anderson chose a cast of well-known actors for this film, including Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore.

The film recounts different life stories. These are interlinked with each other with the aim of making viewers reflect on their own lives.

“’Anger, resentment, and  jealousy  doesn’t change the heart of others – it only changes yours.”

 -Shannon L. Alder-

Experiences in Magnolia

Broadly speaking, this film offers an unquestionable view of the real kinds of problems that people face. As the psychologist, Daniel Goleman states, in order to develop emotional intelligence, you need to both self-reflect and self-criticize. Indeed, this idea is present throughout the film. In fact, here are some of the experiences it presents:

Personal insecurity. This is present from the outset. As a matter of fact, each character’s story demonstrates a lack of self-esteem which tends to be a common problem in real life.

Regret. This emotion is extremely well displayed by the character of Linda (Julianne Moore). In fact, she feels ashamed when her husband falls ill because she’s been unfaithful to him in the past.

The character portrayed by William H. Macy demonstrates emotional failure. This is because he hasn’t successfully developed his personality. Furthermore, he’s a frustrated homosexual and feels the pressure of having been a childhood prodigy.

A drama of personalities

The plot revolves around the close relationships of each of the protagonists. Their lives are interlinked with one another and their problems increase as the plot progresses. Its aim is to make the viewer reflect on adult trauma and personal nonconformism.

Psychologist Maria Teresa Mata states that in order to tolerate situations like this, you should accept yourself and investigate the mistakes you’ve made in the past. In other words, to heal the wounds and move forward, you need self-control and motivation. This is the best way to manage your feelings.

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself”


A scene from Magnolia.

The past conditions the future

During adolescence, you tend to develop a certain kind of personality. Obviously, you mature as you approach adulthood. However, if you don’t heal those teenage wounds, your self-esteem will continue to suffer.

As a matter of fact, the film addresses this very subject. In addition, Professor Alfredo Fierro, from the University of Malaga (Spain), uncovered similar results. He suggests that many problems not managed well in youth tend to re-emerge in adulthood. This can motivate the individual to go against their own interests.

You’ll recognize these ideas within the interlinked stories included in Magnolia. Indeed, this film is extremely realistic. In fact, you may well find yourself empathizing with some of the characters.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Branden, Nathaniel (2001): La psicología de la autoestima, Paidós, Barcelona.

  • Fierro, Alfredo (1996): Manual de psicología de la personalidad, Paidós, Barcelona.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.