Warning: this article is a review of the movie Magnolia and contains many spoilers.
Everyone who has seen the highly praised movie “Magnolia” no doubt left the theater with perhaps a sense of wonder, but probably overwhelming confusion about its ending, especially the scene with the rain of frogs.
A key aspect to interpret the true meaning of this film lies in its many references to Exodus 8:2 from the Bible. The most obvious reference was in the scene just before the start of the Quiz show. A woman is seen holding a sign that clearly has the words “Exodus 8:2” written on it, but is quickly escorted out of the audience by her security.
Below are other examples of references to numbers 8 and 2 in the movie, as listed in the trivia section of imdb.com
o Weather forecast: 82% chance of rain
or a player needs a 2 in blackjack but gets an 8
or the coil of rope when the child commits suicide
or the first temperature reading
or the movie poster at the bus stop on Magnolia Blvd.
or the closet of the damned hanged
o Jim Kurring box number on dating hotline
o Sydney Barringer’s mother and father’s apartment number is 682
or the forensic science convention starts at 8:20
o Delmer Darion flips a stack of cards to reveal 8 to 2 of diamonds
o Just after Jim Kurring sees Donnie Smith climbing up the building, he can see a flash of a sign on the side of the road that says “Exodus 8:2” (is seen again when the frogs fall and hit the car of kurring)
or the number on the fire plane.
or on Marcy’s mug shots, her criminal record number is 82082082082
o in the bar scene there is a blackboard with two teams, the frog and the clouds, the score is 8 to 2
or spray painted on the cement as graffiti next to the child.
or a member of the game show crowd holds up a sign with Exodus 8:2 written on it
where the kids were two days away from entering their eighth week as champions.
o Quiz Kid Donnie Smith won his $100,000 on April 28, 1968
o The first two numbers on the Seduce and Destroy hotline (1-877-TAME-HER) are 82.
or one of the hanged has 82 on his clothes
o Jim says he gets off work at 8:00 and Claudia suggests they meet 2 hours later for a date
And here is Exodus 8:2 –
And the LORD said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go that they may serve me.
And if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your terms with frogs.
Another important piece of the puzzle comes from Dixon, the young man who raps to Jim after discovering the murders. The following is an excerpt from Dixon’s rap:
Check that ego, drop it, I’m the Prophet,
You’re living to be old with a chip on your shoulder.
He’s running from the devil, but the debt is always winning,
When the sunlight doesn’t work, the good Lord brings the rain.
Dixon calls himself the “Prophet”, but it could be interpreted as an extension of God. He takes Jim’s gun after he goes missing, however, during the rain of frogs, the gun falls from the sky along with the frogs, a sign that the boy had some control over events.
The second and third lines of the rap warn Jim that he is living to rise (“to grow old”), but there is something weighing him down. Dixon tells Jim that what he’s doing isn’t right and warns him to stop. However, Jim does not listen to the rapper as the Pharaoh of Egypt did not listen to Moses. This message is not only intended for Jim, but also symbolizes the evil in the lives of all the other characters. The last line warns that if God is ignored, he will bring rain.
An important keynote is that all the characters admit their mistakes, but can’t seem to get over them. Claudia, for example, is addicted to cocaine but can’t do anything to stop it, Linda feels terribly guilty about cheating on Earl and tries to remove his name from his will but can’t, and even Earl uses his last breaths to admit the abuse. what he has done to you. his son and his wife and begs Frank for forgiveness, but he does not receive it.
The rain of frogs means God’s wake-up call for everyone. The rain of frogs, the extremely strange, almost absurd situation, was God’s way of telling everyone that they had done wrong and sinned. However, the shower is his message that he is always watching over the world and can step in to help when help is needed. After the rain of frogs, the characters seem to make peace with their problems and have either succeeded or, in the example of Jimmy Gator’s death, failed. This shows that although God is there to help, not always everything goes perfectly and there are always those who are punished instead of saved.
Please note that this is not an official interpretation and that the Rain of Frogs scene is among the most debated topics in the world of cinema. Accept my interpretation at your own discretion and form your own opinions on the matter, which is probably what the writer PT Anderson intended.