Rated 5.0 Writer/director Paul Anderson has a half-dozen or so stories going all at once here, scattered over a contemporary San Fernando Valley setting and seemingly moving in separate directions. But the various stories are linked in part by parallel and “rhyming” circumstances; the ultimate linkages come by way of two outlandish disruptions of the film’s ostensibly realistic tone. Both sequences are exceptional and absurd, a crucial part of Magnolia's special fascination.