Warning: this article is a review of the movie Magnolia and contains many spoilers.
Everyone who has seen the highly praised movie “Magnolia” undoubtedly left the theater with perhaps a feeling of wonder, but probably overwhelming confusion about its ending, especially the scene with the shower of frogs.
A key aspect of interpreting the true meaning of this movie lies in its many references to Exodus 8: 2 from the Bible. The most obvious reference was on the scene just before the start of the contest. A woman is seen holding a sign that clearly has the words “Exodus 8: 2” written on it, but a security person quickly escorts her out of the audience.
Below are other examples of references to the 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 cartel of the hanged convicts
o Jim Kurring’s box number on the dating hotline
o Sydney Barringer’s mother and father’s apartment number is 682
or forensic science convention starts at 8:20
o Delmer Darion flips over a stack of cards to reveal 8 to 2 of diamonds
o Right after Jim Kurring sees Donnie Smith climbing up the building, you can see a flash of a sign on the side of the road that says “Exodus 8: 2” (visible again when the frogs fall and hit Kurring’s car )
or the firefighter’s plane number.
or in Marcy’s mugshots, her criminal record number is 82082082082
or 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.
o member of the game show crowd holds up a sign with Exodus 8: 2 written on it
o The boys 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 of 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 leaves work at 8:00 and Claudia suggests they meet 2 hours later for an appointment
And here is Exodus 8: 2 –
And the Lord said to Moses: Go to Pharaoh, and say to him: Thus said 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 limits with frogs.
Another important piece of the puzzle comes from Dixon, the young man who raps Jim after his discovery of the murders. The following is an excerpt from Dixon’s rap:
Check that ego, get out of it, I’m the prophet
You are living to grow old with a chip on your shoulder.
He’s running from the devil, but the debt is always winning
When the sun doesn’t work, the good Lord brings the rain.
Dixon calls himself the “Prophet”, but could be interpreted as an extension of god. Take Jim’s gun after he got lost, however during the frog rain 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 ascend (“grow old”), but something is weighing him down. Dixon tells Jim that what he’s doing is not right and warns him to stop. However, Jim does not listen to the rapper like the Pharaoh of Egypt did not listen to Moses. This message is not only meant for Jim, but it also symbolizes the mistake in the lives of all the other characters. The last line warns that if God is ignored, he will bring rain.
An important key note 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 her, Linda feels terribly guilty for cheating on Earl and tries to remove her name from his will, but can’t, and even Earl uses his dying breath to admit his abuse. his son and his wife and begs Frank for forgiveness, but does not receive it.
The rain of frogs means God’s wake-up call for everyone. The shower of frogs – the extremely strange, almost absurd situation – was a way that God told everyone that they had done wrong and sinned. However, the shower is your message that you are always looking out for 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 succeeded or, in the example of Jimmy Gator’s death, have failed. This shows that although God is there to help, not everything always works out perfectly and there are always those who are punished rather than saved.
Please note that this is not an official rendition and the frog shower scene is one of 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 most likely what the writer PT Anderson intended.