Essential Philip Seymour Hoffman performances
Phil Parma in 'Magnolia'
I just wrote about this film recently, and one of the things that I was struck by anew is just how different Phil Parma is than almost any other Philip Seymour Hoffman performance. There's a warmth and a sweetness to Parma that he didn't often get asked to play. He's tasked by his dying client Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) to track down his estranged son, who turns out to be Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise). He spends much of the movie on the phone, trying to connect to Mackey, and there's a great bit early on where he's on the phone to Pink Dot that conveys so much about Phil and his desire to help others and his personal loneliness and it manages to be funny and honest and revealing, and all of it is just Hoffman on the phone, opening up wide enough that Anderson could capture everything at play inside of Phil all at once. Little wonder Anderson loved Hoffman so much. He was one of the few directors who ever tried to explore the full range of what this remarkable actor could do.
- Drew McWeeny