Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Moulin Rouge

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language for a PG-13
Nudity/Sex:Main character is a prostitute, themes of selling oneself and pretending love
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters drink (including hallucinogen absinthe)
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril, gun, tragic death
Diversity Issues:Issues about the limited options available to women
Movie Release Date:2001

This is a big overstuffed everything- and the kitchen sink mess of a movie. It is an ambitious, often gorgeous, occasionally brilliant mess. But for all its superficial abundance, there is an essential stinginess at its core. It teases the audience with glimpses of dazzling images and snippets of familiar songs but never gives either a chance to connect. It’s like one long coming attraction, without the payoff of a chance to relish the full version. There is more than enough for the eye, but nothing for the soul.

The story is supposed to be eternal, with echoes of classic themes from Orpheus to La Bohème (with references to everything from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “The Sound of Music,” Nirvana, Fellini, MTV, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, and even a love triangle with a gun climax right out of “Titanic”). Those may be shortcuts to pleasure and even amusement, but they don’t work when it comes time to making us care about what happens. The movie is busy to the point of hallucination, but it has so little time for its characters that it comes across more as melodrama, with young lovers menaced by a villain who all but twirls his moustache and ties her to the train tracks. The story tells us that it is supposed to be about love, but it tries so hard to be postmodern and ironic that the audience is left feeling as cold-hearted as the wicked Duke.

The movie opens brilliantly with a proscenium arch and as the curtain goes up we see the conductor and hear a song about “a very strange enchanted boy.” Christian (Ewan McGregor), a naive young poet, comes to Paris at the turn of the 20th Century and meets up with a group of Bohemian artists who want him to write a musical play for the star of a combination nightclub, dance hall, and brothel, a “kingdom of nighttime pleasures” called the Moulin Rouge. The star’s name is Satine (Nicole Kidman), and she and Christian fall in love, which is bad for business. The emcee of the show (Jim Broadbent as Ziglar) wants Satine to get the wealthy Duke to pay to transform the Moulin Rouge into a legitimate theater and back the first show. That means that she has to persuade the Duke that she is in love with him, and she has to sleep with him.

Satine wants stardom and she wants Christian. She does not have much time; she faints at the end of her big musical number, and she has been coughing up blood.

Christian learns that it is not as easy to be a Bohemian as he thought; Satine learns that acting like she loves many men is not as hard as acting like she does not love one. They both learn that the show is more real than they thought. The sitar (played by John Leguizamo as Toulouse-Lautrec) does tell the truth and love’s first kiss does wake the princess,

The highlight of the movie is the art direction. The sets and costumes are spectacular, and everything else is secondary at best. McGregor and Kidman use their undeniable star power to do as much to hold our attention as anyone could. Their singing voices are passable, but not arresting.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language (including double entendres) and sexual references and situations. The main character is a prostitute and the atmosphere is decadent. Christian and his friends drink absinthe, and have a hallucination.

Families who see this movie should look at some of the pictures by Toulouse-Lautrec of the real Moulin Rouge. They should talk about Satine’s comment that she had learned to think that she was only worth what someone would pay for her. How did being in love with Christian change that? Did the Bohemians really change the world around them? What do you think will happen to Christian? To the Duke?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Luhrman’s other films, “Strictly Ballroom” and “Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” which have his trademark visual flair and clever musical selections, and which also have better scripts.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carol

    “There is more than enough for the eye, but nothing for the soul.”

    I love you Movie Mom.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Carol!

Previous Posts

Trailer: Days and Nights With Katie Holmes and Allison Janney
Inspired by Chekhov's "The Seagull," this is the story of a weekend at a country house that includes a famous actress, her discontented son, and people who love the wrong people and are angry at each other -- sometimes at the same time. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEs6vXztmBM[/youtub

posted 8:00:41am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in "Serena"
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence re-team in "Serena," which looks very intriguing but does not yet have a US release date. Stay tuned. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-wFHiZHZVaU?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:35am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Contest: Win a DVD of Ella the Elephant
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PL7Eup7JXScZz_ZAyJKN2XMIdAVp-n3iCW" frameborder="0"] Join Ella the Elephant and her kindhearted friends in this all-new animated series from Disney Junior featuring 8 charming episodes. Elephant Island is home to many

posted 3:37:58pm Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Kellie Pickler Joins the Veggie Tales in Beauty and the Beet
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9mcbvBvE0[/youtube] Country star Kellie Pickler joins the cast in "Beauty and the Beet," from the Veggie Tales folks, coming out October 14, 2014. (With a name like that, it was just a question of time!) BEAUTY AND THE BEET, a brand-new VeggieTales mus

posted 3:30:42pm Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Baby Got Class
A great video for Back to School from the hilarious Holderness family! [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/s56-Ta35JRk?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:33:19am Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.