Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge is…

What I mean is, Moulin Rouge tells the story of…no. That’s not it, either.

On one hand, Moulin Rouge is what happened when a bunch of eccentric people drink entirely too much prescription cough syrup, break into a theater, and start randomly singing songs and dancing.

On the other, it’s a mix of different tragedies, mixed with colorful art direction, and pop songs.

Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are the couple who love each other, but they must keep this hidden from the evil duke (Richard Roxbrough). Nicole Kidman has consumption, and Ewan McGregor has some odd associates, including a dwarf Toulouse-Latrec (John Leguizimo). Also, Jim Broadbent is amazing as the guy who runs Moulin Rouge (Broadbent won a BAFTA).

The story is about people having trouble assembling their show. Not so with Moulin Rouge. It has more edits in three minutes than 2001: A Space Odyssey had in its whole 9 hours, or whatever.

I should admit that I usually hate musicals with a burning passion.

But I loved Moulin Rouge. It grabbed my attention before the 20th Century Fox fanfare was done, and it zoomed by. When Broadbent ends up singing “Like a Virgin” to the angry Duke, I realized that Moulin Rouge is like one of those five amazing dreams you never forget. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and disparate elements are shaken together like Yahtzee dice, but it somehow congeals into something magical.

I was really entertained, far more than I am normally after a musical (seriously, I wanted some third gang to come in and kill both the Jets and Sharks in West Side Story).

Perhaps it’s ironic, but I bet Moulin Rouge is even better after a bottle of the absinthe everyone’s drinking on-screen.

Grade: A-

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7 Responses to “Moulin Rouge (2001)”

  1. I remember Moulin Rouge fondly. But I would rather drink Nyquil than absinthe.
    Pleh!

  2. I should watch it, because the way you describe it sounds like my feelings about the Romeo & Juliet movie with DiCaprio and Danes. It’s this jumble of things that ultimately work.

  3. Maybe I’ll have to re-watch it sometime. I was young when I watched it first and, like you, I typically loathe musicals. I might not have given it a fighting chance.

    The green fairy clip you posted is… Weird.

  4. I love musicals, but I couldn’t stand Moulin Rouge. I know I know — everything about my socio-economic pop culture persona suggests that I should, I just didn’t.

    • Steve, I totally understand. It’s the kind of movie I hate on principle, but it worked for me. No points off for hating it.

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