The Fountain (2006)

Hugh Jackman (Tommy), Rachel Weisz (Izzi), Ellen Burstyn (Dr. Guzetti)

Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)

My summary: An incredibly sexy man strives to find a cure for his beautiful, vivacious wife's ailment. Her fictional creations parallel their journey through life and death.

I must have forgotten to suspend this on my hold list at the library. It showed up on Wednesday -- because I've had a quiet week and plenty of time to devote to movie-watching! Whoops! But in honor of Pacze and his sweet-natured gripe that I haven't been reviewing much lately, and in honor of all the fine ladies who adore Mr. Jackman, I twisted my own arm to watch this one. Ow, ow, woe is me.

Nah, at 96 minutes, it's like a mini movie. No problem. So when Steve and Silvia went exploring this evening, Keven was busy with Civ, and my head wouldn't stop pounding with a miserable headache, I stepped away from the computer and into Darren Aronofsky's world. As if that would really help my head.

But oddly, it did. I felt like a little kid exploring a new environment, full of lights, patterns and textures unlike those of the ordinary world. Cell matrices became tree foliage. Glare from a skylight became the divine. The grain of wood became rings on a tattooed arm. This is a lush visual treat layered over an intense examination of love and mortality. And when Aronofsky's script became a little too obscure, I amused myself with the pretty lights.

But pretty worlds must be inhabited by quality actors and driven by a compelling script, lest the movie recind into permanent eye candy. The Fountain never suffered such a fate. I used to despise Rachel Weisz, for reasons that stem mostly from The Mummy and Chain Reaction. But ever since The Constant Gardener, she has been a favorite of mine, joining Samantha Morton, Natalie Portman, and Sandra Bullock as actresses who make me cry. When they cry, I lose it. And she was brilliant here, an amazing combination of vulnerability, strength, lightheartedness, and scary intelligence.

But the movie belonged to Hugh Jackman. He's a bald guy, he's a hairy conquistador, and he's a modern Dr. Frankenstein. And oh, he cries. Oh, oh, he cries a lot. No surprise, I lost it with him, too. Stern, harrowed, tender -- he travels the entire range of human emotion. The kissing in the bath got me bothered in the best and most delicious way, and the scene tattooing his finger tore out my heart. Every moment is a testament to a man coming to terms with the end of his world.

All I heard about this film had to do with intensely high levels of confusion and confusion and more confusion. Folks must have a low tolerance for movies outside a certain linear progression. I had no clue what was going on, but I trusted in Aronofsky's methods. And whadayaknow? By the time the credits roll, it works. Give it time, people. It's lovely.


Ann(ie) said...

Sounds good. I'll definitely add it to my list.

DK & The Fluffies said...

Sounds like one to add to the queue

Fang Bastardson said...

Ooh, this out! Thanks for the heads-up. I'm anxious to see whether I love it or hate it.

Pacze Moj said...


I was excited for this before it came out. I liked Aronofsky's Pi (not so much his Requiem for a Dream), but my enthusiasm started falling off after watching the trailer. When it hit theatres, I put it off, and then, eventually, forgot about it.

Looks like I'll have to grab hold of the DVD, though. Pretty lights will probably make for good screenshots!