In 1999, while writing the screenplay for “Magnolia”, writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson (Black Blood) couldn’t stop listening to “Bachelor no. 2 ”, the third album by American singer and his friend Aimee Mann. He made the decision to invite the singer to participate and compose songs for the original Magnolia’s soundtrack film. The result was a great and unforgettable motion picture soundtrack album of all the times.
Magnolia is a multiplot drama movie written and directed by Anderson Paul Thomas Anderson that was released in 1999, with a stellar cast as Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Melora Walters, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy and Philip Baker Hall. It explores the traumas of his characters, who live different trajectories but connected in one day in Los Angeles. Linda (Julianne Moore) is the young and unfaithful wife of a dying old millionaire, and Phill (Philip Seymour Hoffmann) his nurse. Frank (Tom Cruise, in a surprising performance, which was even nominated for an Oscar), is a charlatan who makes money by teaching men to dominate women. Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) is the host of a renowned TV game show. He has cancer and needs to deal with his cocaine-addicted daughter, Claudia (Melora Walters). Meanwhile, pre-teen Stanley is pressured by his father to stand out on Jimmy’s show. Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) is a former winner of the same program, today a true loser. The story is developed as truths about each are revealed, until a cathartic and surprising ending.
Magnolia begins with a series of police cases that reveal themselves beyond simple coincidences, followed by the dynamic presentation of the characters so sucked up by their problems, even interconnected to each other by the involving plot. Nothing better than the cover of “One” (“is the loneliness number”…), by Harry Nilsson, sung by Aimee Mann, to convey this shared loneliness since the opening.
We are then introduced to Officer Jim Kurring, played by John C. Reilly. On one of his missions to comply with the law, Jim pays a visit to Claudia (Melora Walters), who frantically takes drugs while “Momentum” explodes at the loudest volume of the sound. The singer’s most hyperactive music can be seen in the teaser trailer edited by the director.
For “Save me”, one of the songs written especially for Magnolia and heard shortly before the final credits, Aimee received six nominations, among them for the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the Grammy. Anderson directed the clip, in which the singer comforts with her voice, like an invisible angel, the worst moments of the characters. The first sentences of “Deathly” coincide with a line from Claudia to Jim: “Now that I found you, would you mind if we didn’t see each other anymore?” And “Wise Up” creates the moment when the film becomes almost a musical and all the characters are supposed to sing, emulating a joint thought.
Other songs by Aimee Mann officially on the Magnolia track are “Build That Wall”, “Driving Sideways”, “You Do” and the instrumental version of “Nothing Is Good Enough”. The last three, in addition to “Save Me”, became part of Mann’s Bachelor No. 2 (2000) album, with the track “Red Vines” dedicated to the director. The professional relationship of the two dated from Hard Eight (1996), in which it is possible to hear “Christmastime”, and Boogie Nights: Pleasure Without Limits (1997), which presents “Voices Carry”.
The Magnolia’s thirteen tracks, nine are performed by the singer, two Supertramp songs, used in key moments: “Goodbye Stranger” and “The Logical Song”. In addition to the producer of Aimee Mann, Jon Brion left a beautiful composition “Magnolia”. The instrumental songs complement other classic sound choices that only add to the mood of the film: Ravel’s famous “Bolero”, Brahms, the vintage “Whispering”, as well as the excerpt from the opera “Carmen” sung by Stanley in the bizarre television quiz “What Do Kids Know ?”.
The sad “Wise Up” is sung by the characters in the film at some point. Another track that deserves to be highlighted ‘is the instrumental“ Nothing Is Good Enough ”. But no song is as disheartening as “Save Me”, the last track on the album. A ballad for those who find no way out except to ask for help.
You must listen to the movie soundtrack right now!