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This is an original movie for sure, that becomes one through its storytelling and just overall writing, all done by Paul Thomas Anderson.

It's almost as if every story got written for- and made as a movie on its own. Every different storyline also sort of has its own style and approach to but not so that the movie starts to become fragmentary. Even though the different story lines are not connected to each other, the movie still manages to feel like one big whole, also probably because the movie never meanders but spends the right amount of time with each different storyline and cuts flawlessly back and forth between the different ones.

It's the sort of movie that not reveals or makes clear everything right at the start. It really takes it time to setup things and its stories slowly start to unravel, as it heads toward its ending. So the storytelling might seem slow but it actually is a far from slow movie. There is always something happening and because the movie keeps going back and forth so much between its different stories the movie never allows itself to slow down.

Another thing with the story is that every time you think the story will be heading into a certain direction, it will start to go somewhere else and unexpected with its story. I liked that things weren't always that clear or obvious right from the start. It also gets you more involved with its characters. You might even change your feelings toward them as the movie its story progresses and starts to take some unexpected twists and turns.

Some of the story lines are connected through its characters but all of the story lines are connected through its themes. It's a drama, in which all of the characters are in search of something; love, happiness, forgiveness but also all in search of themselves. Some characters go through some powerful transitions, that besides feel very real. Most of its themes are universal and very easy to relate to, even if you have never been through any of them.

Something this movie also of course really benefits from is its cast. Tom Cruise has maybe never been better and other well known actors such as Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jason Robards all make some strong appearances.

I wouldn't call the movie brilliant or an absolute masterpiece but it simply is a really great and besides also original movie, that becomes so through its story, storytelling and acting. In other words; the 3 fundamental ingredients needed to make a great movie with!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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