Did I imagine this final scene in "Magnolia?" Spoilers to follow.
July 3, 2014 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I first saw the movie when it came out in 1999, just watched it again on DVD. I'll swear there is a scene deleted from the DVD, but there is no mention of it in either the DVD supplements or Google. Spoiler Alert:

One of the final scenes in the DVD version is of Frank/Jack (Earl's son) going to check on Linda, (Earl's wife,) in the hospital, where she is recovering from a suicide attempt. The way we see Frank striding down the hall to the hospital room seems to suggest that his going there is leading up to something important. But that is the last we see of Frank in the DVD version. Yet I have a vivid memory of him walking into a room where Linda is, (not necessarily a hospital room)and there being a startling instantaneous attraction between the two of them, of the love-at-first sight variety. It was memorable in so many ways--the notion of the misogynist falling in love, and with his own stepmother, and she in return falling for her late husband's son....did I really just make this up out of some other movie? I have googled alternate versions but there is no suggestion that this scene was cut from the DVD. Does anyone who saw the original remember this?
posted by uans to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I didn't see it in theaters, I watched it on DVD in a class in college in 2004, but I thought for sure there was a scene like this, too. Where he went to visit her and they looked at each other and it was implied that their meeting would lead to a relationship. I'm pretty sure she was in a hospital in how I remember it.

Do they meet at any other point in the movie? Now I'm really confused myself. I thought for sure this was a scene.
posted by phunniemee at 1:57 PM on July 3, 2014

FWIW, neither Mr. Uans nor I can remember any such meeting in the DVD.
posted by uans at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2014

I watched Magnolia again recently. I remember seeing Linda in the hospital and I think I remember Frank visiting her. But I also remember that when Linda met with the lawyer to talk about rewriting her husband's will, the lawyer said that if the money didn't go to her, it would go to Frank and she freaked out about that idea. She also freaked out when she came home from the pharmacy and the nurse played by Philip Seymour Hoffman said that he was trying to get Frank on the phone. So I have a hard time thinking that they would meet in the hospital and fall in love.
posted by kat518 at 2:13 PM on July 3, 2014

As someone who saw Magnolia a couple times in its theatrical run, but never on DVD, this sounds familiar. But it was also, what, 15 years ago, so I might just be imagining things based on your suggestion.

Googlin' hasn't turned anything up yet.
posted by sportbucket at 2:17 PM on July 3, 2014

I love Magnolia, saw it in theaters and several times on DVD over the years, though not recently. I do not recall this scene at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:34 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't remember this, but it's been a while since I've seen this one in any form.

The (alleged) shooting script has this final bit for both Frank and Linda:


CAMERA looking down the long emergency room corridor as the doors
open and Frank enters and moves to the reception desk, asks some
information --

CAMERA pans off him, and over to a room, looking through the door
jam onto Linda in bed. Her eyes a bit open, respiratory equipment
attached to her. A DOCTOR standing over her, calmly asking questions;

Are you with us? Linda? Is it Linda?

She nods her head. Doctor continues talk, etc. Frank, from
behind enters FRAME and stands off nearby. MATCH TO DIXON'S FACE

Someone's so and so meet someone else's
so and so and so on --

I wonder if what you saw made a connection as a viewer between shots that was not intentionally there, or only thematically implied.
posted by dhartung at 6:07 PM on July 3, 2014

I watched this the other night, after not having seen it since its initial release. Still a great movie. Seems that the scene as it exists now brings some closure to the story of these two characters, in that by Frank visiting the hospital for his step-mother both are finding this tiny bit of family that they might have. Unlike the cop or the William H. Macy character, neither of these characters would lack for sexual opportunity, nor have the shown any capacity for a loving relationship, so how would alluding to a connection between the two be emotionally satisfying for the audience? If it had ended the way you remembered, with some hint that there would be a greater relationship between the two, it would have overpowered the impact of the actual closing scene between the broken daughter and lonely cop. As clever and emotionally bare a director as Anderson can be, I can't see how he could have mapped out the strong narrative shift you remember with those closing glances at the characters being as brief as they are.
posted by TimTypeZed at 6:54 PM on July 3, 2014

Magnolia is one my favorite movies. I have no memory of a scene happening after the sort-of-redemption scene between the daughter and the cop. I had assumed Linda was a successful suicide. If there had been a scene of her in the hospital, I can't imagine I would have come away from the movie remembering her as dead. If there is such a filmed scene, could someone let us know where to find it?
posted by Meep! Eek! at 7:37 PM on July 3, 2014

No, I didn't think it was the absolutely last scene--I should clarify it was the last scene with Frank in it.
posted by uans at 7:37 PM on July 3, 2014

Meep! Eek!, Linda was saved. dhartung provides us with the scene--which does indeed exist in the DVD I just saw. Linda is alive at the end of the movie. I guess that rather than appealing to other people's memories I should be asking only if there is some reference I haven't found yet to this deleted moment.
posted by uans at 7:43 PM on July 3, 2014

I'm not sure. I barely remember seeing it in theaters. However, the DVD has a fairly extensive making of film, and it is mentioned that both Julianne Moore and Tom Cruise each have only three successive weeks to work on the film, and they are never shown together in that. In the final cut they never overlap, so I'm not sure they would have had time. However, the making of also shows some filming of a dropped storyline, but that is not related either character.

I think if the DVD and the film were very different it would have been discussed by now. Is it at all possible you would have seen it at a film festival at the time it was released?
posted by itsonreserve at 11:59 PM on July 4, 2014

Also--does dhartung's described scene exist for sure on the DVD? The last I remember of Linda is the ambulance getting knocked on it's side during a frog falling related crash. I think the only post-frog scene in the film that occurs in real time is John C. Reilley going back to Melora Walter's apartment.
posted by itsonreserve at 12:16 AM on July 5, 2014

uans: "Meep! Eek!, Linda was saved. dhartung provides us with the scene--which does indeed exist in the DVD I just saw. Linda is alive at the end of the movie. "

Thanks, Uans. You've just given me a great reason to rewatch the movie, since now I wonder what else I've forgotten. :)
posted by Meep! Eek! at 11:02 PM on July 5, 2014

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