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The Fountain

A movie directed by Darren Aronofsky

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[3.5]--Life, death, love, I'm okay with those things

  • Jun 20, 2007
  • by
There is something going on here. If I were to say that I knew what everything in "The Fountain" is supposed to mean, I'd probably be a liar. That said, I feel that I got the general idea. Many people have compared this film's esoteric, pseudo-intellectual appeal to something like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I think this is a wrong claim to make. There are many moments in the Fountain in which the story is too desperately being explained to us. Rachel Weisz is an amazing actress but half her lines in the movie feel like she's just spoon-feeding us important information. It took the joy away from a movie that should (though mostly does) communicate on an emotional level more than anything else. Even if you don't really know why, The Fountain has the ability to provoke some powerful emotions. Unfortunately, it does not do much else.

The plot is in three parts: the first of which chronicling Hugh Jackman's 16th century conquistador Tomas' journey into the heart of the Mayan empire to locate the mythical Tree Of Life and reward himself and Queen Isabella with eternal life so as to escape from a dying Spain, the second is set in the 21st century and sees Tommy as a scientist trying to cure his wife of her cancer and, with help from a strange South American tree, stumbling across a potential cure to ageing. Ageing, but not death. The third plot sees a futuristic Tom escorting a dying Tree Of Life (who would have thought that the Tree could die?) into the heart of a dying nebula where both the tree plans to be reborn. The relationship between the plots is blurred and certainly open to interpretation. There is however certain constants throughout each act as it were. Not counting the obvious themes of life, death and love, there are repeated elements of tragedy and noticeable splashes of shared dialogue, imagery and color (especially gold) throughout each different time period. The romance between Tommy and Izzy, particularly in the 21st century time period, is an heart-breaking portrayal of love and loss.

If you were to remove the entire concept of past and future from the movie, you'd have a story of a man with a love so intense for the woman he lost; he would never, ever recover. Since we do get the other, more wondrous aspects to it, The Fountain becomes a more memorable, unique film, and has a beautiful sense of hope to it. It is a very one-sided love story though. It is mainly about Hugh Jackman's character's experiences. Aronosky's wife, the lovely Weisz, has to play a character that is never fully realized, and is degraded to an object of affection and goal for the main character, and someone who lays down all the important information to get the plot rolling.

The film is very much a heavy film if you were for its message and visual experience. It isn't a clear cut adventure film, but one which forces viewers to think. I found out that Brad and Cate was suppose to star in this film but apparently went off to do the equally over-ambitious but infinitely superior "Babel." Based around the Biblical Tree of Life described in Genesis, I think it is one of the most original pieces of artistry I have seen in quite sometime, but in the other hand is not as clever or deep as it thinks it is.

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More The Fountain reviews
review by . January 10, 2011
*** out of ****      "The Fountain" left me feeling completely drained. While it was confusing and a tad uneven, Darren Aronofsky's third feature was also beautiful and rich with both visual and intellectual spectacle. Yes, I'm one of the many non-professional film critics who liked Aronosky's "The Fountain". And don't ask me why, because I'm going to tell you soon enough. As you may know, I am indeed an admirer of complex, diverse films. …
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
I actually really liked this was...interesting, but in a good way.
review by . December 24, 2008
Director Darren Aronofsky (Pi and Requiem for a Dream) has created a niche for himself in the film industry. Much like filmmakers David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, and Vincent Ward, Darren Aronofsky explores the realm of dark drama, where dreams and fantasies flow into everyday reality. His film, The Fountain, is an ambitious science fiction/fantasy film with a strong metaphysical undercurrent. As always, Aronofsky utilizes his keen visual sense of storytelling while focusing on characterization and maintaining …
review by . November 17, 2008
(Based on "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer)     I thought that I would never see   A movie centered `round a tree     A tree whose milky sap can bring   An end to human suffering     A tree that looks up to the sky   While time on earth is passing by     A tree that from First Father grew   A star that dies and starts anew     Within whose bosom lies the cure   For …
review by . September 13, 2008
Pros: None really     Cons: Almost everything     The Bottom Line: Skip The Fountain; what started out perhaps to be a journey into the spiritual realm turned out to be short trip into a scattered mind with little direction.          Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I like to watch movies; all sorts of movies, but by the end I would like to know what to movie was/is all about. …
review by . July 11, 2007
One recurring theme for manifests itself annually in Hollywood is the movie about lovers transcending death and time to be with each other. Past examples include Somewhere in Time, The Lake House, Timeline, Bicentennial Man, and maybe even the Sixth Sense. This is probably the weirdest of them all, but also the most intriguing. The movie is actually three stories wrapped into one, all of which feature three characters, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, and a tree that gives life. The three are intertwined …
review by . May 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Nothing comes to mind      Cons: Horrific plot, it is both nearly impossible to follow and not worth the effort.      The Bottom Line: Unless you just want to waste ninety minutes, don't bother with this one.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      Darren Aronofsky is not for emotional lightweights. In is film Pi a super genius mathematician whose talents …
review by . May 16, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
New Age fairy tale, `The Fountain,' taps into our most primitive regions by transcending space and time to seek the antidote to man's mighty enemy--Death. Drawing upon a hodgepodge of religious imagery, the movie intersects four time frames, including ancient times and the biblical Tree of Life; the trappings of Medeival Spain when ascetical practices were sometimes severe, and the Inquisition made "heresy" contraband; today, and the future when mankind potentially can reap the benefits of science …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie


It's been a long, strange trip since Darren Aronofsky last invited viewers into his cinematic world--six years in fact--but THE FOUNTAIN is sure to enchant, beguile, and inspire intense debate among his patient fans. During the frustrating gap since 2000's REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, Aronofsky has struggled to bring THE FOUNTAIN to the screen, principally because leading man Brad Pitt dropped out of the project.

The complex tale is split into three different time periods, beginning in the 16th century, when a conquistador named Tomas (Hugh Jackman) strives to find the Tree of Life. The second part of the story finds Jackman playing a Buddha-like character who zips through outer space and dreams of a woman named Izzi (Rachel Weisz).

And the third part, which consumes most of the film's screen time, is set in the present day and sees Jackman playing a doctor named Tommy, who is married to the terminally-ill Izzi. In this third section Tommy strives to find a cure for Izzi's brain tumor, and makes some progress af...
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