Cryptic smiles that fade to black: Claudia Wilson Gator

Published by Iris in Movies, Memorable Scenes, Characters, Screen Shots,
Published on 09/18/12 at 10:32:29 am using 191 words.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant Magnolia draws to a close by zooming in on one of its profoundly damaged characters, bringing Claudia Wilson Gator’s (Melora Walters) downward spiral to a soft halt as she sits up in bed listening to the honest words (though half drowned by Aimee Mann’s Save me) of a good man.

Claudia’s smile is somewhat different from the others in this series. For starters, it doesn’t actually fade to black, it cuts right to it. She also looks straight into the camera so her smile seems meant to reassure us at the same time it appeases her at the end of her harrowing journey.

There’s such a sense of security to her surroundings, such a safe-and-soundness in the air to contrast the lines on her inwardly-bruised-and-battered face. And as punctuation leading into her future, a meek smile and a glint in her eye that say… things may just work out, after all.

Click on the links for the first, second, third and fourth installments of the series.

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