Veteran Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman cited Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Magnolia’ as an example of the “strength of American cinema”. An epic drama, this 1999 film follow the lives of several people who are in search of happiness, forgiveness and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. The film has an ensemble cast that includes Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Melinda Dillon, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore among others. ‘Magnolia’ is often regarded by fans and critics as one of the finest films of the 90s. Recipient of the prestigious Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, the film is a deeply personal creation of Paul Thomas Anderson.
‘Magnolia’ is an example of Hyperlink cinema, a term coined by American nonfiction writer, critic and journalist Alissa Quart. Hyperlink Cinema developed as a narrative structure where writers would create multiple stories which would cumulate to form a primary narrative but also function as a binary entity. The films that we’re going to discuss here follow the narrative strategies of ‘Magnolia’. They all belong to different genres, varying from dramas to comedies to crime thrillers, but the stories within the film are formulated by this intrinsic form of storytelling. With that said, here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘Magnolia’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Magnolia’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Nine Lives (2005)
Written and directed by Columbian filmmaker Rodrigo García, ‘Nine Lives’ consists of nine short of nine different women whose lives are connected in some way or the other. The film explores themes of filial relationships, fractured love, adultery, illness, and death which all thematically interlink the nine short stories. The drama film forms a narrative similar to that of Russian playwright and author Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s short stories, which are constructed with single but unbroken narratives. The patient filmmaking techniques are reflected with the slow and measured narrative which does not cater to everyone. However, the novelistic treatment of the film makes it a stimulating watch, which has earned the right to be analysed and judged with patience.
9. Dunkirk (2017)
Directed by Christopher Nolan, ‘Dunkirk’ is a war film focusing on the epic Dunkirk evacuation in World War II. The film showcases the crisis and destruction of war through three non-linear narratives titled land, sea and air. The narrative is quite different from the archetypal war movies as it does not ooze with American nationalism or focus on dialogues. Instead, the ensemble pays attention to the psychological functioning of the men trapped in the rubble of war. The three interweaving narratives help Nolan explore the atrocities of war from multiple perspectives. Adding to the grandeur of Nolan’s vision is the haunting score by German composer Hans Zimmer and the visually beautiful and cosmic cinematography by Dutch-Swedish cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. Cited as one of the best war films of all time, ‘Dunkirk’ went on to bag multiple nominations at award ceremonies.