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Before the opening credits role we are shown three different scenes all of which involve what some would see as coincidence but what others would see as fate A pharmacist is murdered one night in a town called Greenberry Hill by three men who were attempting to rob him their names being Green Berry and Hill A scuba-diver is lifted by an airplane carrying water to extinguish a forest fire and dies second after falling from the plane which is being flown by a man who interacted with the scuba-diver just days before at a casino Finally a boy tries to commit suicide by jumping off of his buildings roof top but is then killed by a bullet being shot threw a window three stories down by his mother who is arguing with his father and who is threatening him with a gun that the boy has loaded several days earlier The boy then falls on a net that had been installed for window washers which would have saved his life were it not for this incredible sequence of events Magnolia as keenly noted by James Berardinelli a reviewer for the New York Times deals with the effects of physical and spiritual cancer on individuals and their families It is the story of Earl Partridge the producer of a television show called What Do Kids Know who lies in his bed dying of cancer His second wife Linda turns to prescription anti-depressants in order to cope with her guilt and impending loss His estranged son Frank Mackey an infomercial crusader whos followers are taught to obey the cock and tame the cunt Earls dying wish of being reunited with Frank is being fulfilled by Earls nurse Phil Parma Meanwhile the host of Earls game show Jimmy Gator is also stricken with cancer and is literally falling apart on television Jimmys relationship with his drug addicted daughter cannot be reconciled though his daughter Claudia embarks
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