Death and the end of the world are two sides to the same coin; you can’t really make an end of the world film without some form of death. Sometimes it means the death of thousands or millions such as in War of the Worlds, sometimes it means the death of a planet as in Wall-E, and sometimes it means the end of a person’s individual world as shown in Magnolia. Magnolia is a film that shows an “apocalyptic” view of the world through the deaths of different characters and the deaths of character’s pasts. Each character has his or her own mini-apocalypse.
“It’s the end of the world!” People often use this phrase to describe, not a literal apocalypse, but something happening in their lives that could ultimately turn their lives inside-out, or even ruin it. Magnolia looks at the lives of many different people and how they each go through an event that could change their lives forever. Frank Mackey learns that his estranged father is dying of cancer, Linda has fallen in love with her husband as he’s dying and hates that she cheated on him in the past, Claudia is an addict and learns that her father is dying, and Donnie has “so much love to give” but doesn’t know what to do with it. By the end of the film, each character has witnessed either the death of their loved one, their “almost” death, or the death of who they used to be.
By having their lives turned around at the end of the film, each character has seen the “end” of their world, and has learned how to fix it and turn it around again – sometimes for the better and sometimes not so much.
Is a single bad event in your life really the end of the world?