A poor writer falls in love with a gorgeous
courtesan who is being pursued by a jealous duke.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
Starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent,
Richard Roxburgh, John Leguizamo
Oscar Wins - Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Sound
Moulin Rouge! is a celebrated musical, a box office smash, and a beloved modern classic thanks to its incredible production design, catchy reinvention of celebrated love songs, and wonderful performances. Through song and dance, Moulin Rouge! tells the story of a young poet named Christian (McGregor) who falls in love with the gorgeous belle of the Moulin Rouge, Satine (Kidman). But their love is threatened by an angry, jealous Duke (Roxburgh) who wants Satine to himself. It's a tried and true trope that's done in such an engaging way this time around.
Kidman and McGregor have fantastic chemistry, not to mention their surprisingly powerful vocal performances. I had to look up if they were actually singing, because I didn't believe they could pull it off that well. Jim Broadbent steals the show as the bizarre and quirky maestro of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler, and the rest of the cast shines as well. The musical numbers are unforgettable, and the way Luhrmann tied the songs together is pretty genius. The story doesn't have much of a wow factor, but that's to be expected in musicals. Typically, the songs and art direction outshine the narrative aspects, as is the case with this film.
I enjoyed Moulin Rouge! far more than I thought. The characters are intriguing, the performances are fantastic, the costumes and production are stellar, and the ending is poignant and reflective. Ultimately, it's a film about love, and how it conquers all, be it for good or evil. Love consumes us, it controls us, it chooses us or it eludes us. This film showcases love's greatest mysteries in a unique and exciting way.