The plot is deceivingly simple, yet incredibly complex beneaththe surface. To sum up, since I never like to discuss plot anywayfor fear of ruining an "audience moment", (Some of themore salient points are brought up in the musical number "ComeWhat May" playing in the background of this page.) "MoulinRouge" is a musical, and plots for musicals are by naturefairly simple. It is a story about love, and a celebration ofthe concepts so eloquently outlined by John Keats in the poem"Ode to a Grecian Urn". "Beauty is truth, truthbeauty, That is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
The first character we meet is Toulouse Latrec (appropriately),who sings the first lines of the libretto introducing Christian,the main character. John Lequizamo plays Latrec. Ewan McGregor,better than he's ever been on film, is Christian, who is introduceda broken man, still grieving over the loss of his great love,Satine (Nicole Kidman). He is attempting to write the story weare about to see, and as he types on his vintage Underwood, weare transported back to Paris at the turn of the century, whenhe arrives, "a penniless poet", in search of truth,beauty, freedom, and love. He takes a room across from the "MoulinRouge", the most celebrated nightclub of the time. He meetsLatrec, who is rehearsing a play on the floor above his, whenthe lead actor in the play, a narcoleptic Argentinian, falls throughthe floor into his room. He steps in for the Argentinian, andastounds Latrec and his group of bohemian artists, by giving musicalvoice to the play, singing "The Sound of Music".
In no time at all, he is an integral member of the "Bohos".He visits the "Rouge", run in full music hall bombastby Zidler, played by Jim Broadbent ("Topsy-Turvey").He is stricken by Satine, a celebrated chanteuse and courtesan,at first sight, as she descends into the auditorium on a trapezesinging "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend". He meetsSatine when he is mistaken for the Duke (Richard Roxburg), whois about to bankroll an important show, falls in love, is foundout (but not before Satine falls in love with him) and is ultimatelygiven the job of writing the musical in which Satine will makeher "legitimate" debut.
As the show, the spectacular "Spectacular Spectacular"proceeds through writing and rehearsals, the lovers attempt, withvarying degrees of success, to hide the affair. (Again, the songplaying in the background details the story.) As the show's openingnight approaches, Satine banishes Christian from attending, warninghim that the Duke has threatened him with death. The show mustgo on, however, and Christian risks his life to settle his differenceswith Satine.
I mentioned that the film begins with Christian mourning the lossof his love. That's all I will say about plot here.
Suffice it to say, that as with all musicals, the production numbersadvance and comment upon the plot. That these songs are wovenfrom recent musical history makes the accomplishment even moreastounding.
Photo provided by Flickr
She is Gillian Anderson, a statuesque 23-year-old from Barrhead near Paisley, and she has been the principal dancer at the Moulin Rouge, the legendary Paris music hall, for the past three years.
What's On - Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton
Photo provided by Flickr
Thank you for visiting this unofficial journey behind the RedVelvet Curtain and into the heart of "The Moulin Rouge",my pick for Best Picture of the year in a year when humanity needsa movie like "Moulin Rouge". This is one of my "overnightpages", although it's taken the better part of the Holidayweekend to construct, not to mention writing the lengthy essayI hope you read, and I'm presenting it almost complete, with acomposite image page, discussion board, and links to the officialsite and some selected fan sites. The heart of the site, of course,is the treatise below, which is continued on the essay page. Iset out to tell everybody just how wonderful and enlighteningthe movie is, and I got rather carried away, but I hope it mightinspire people to go see the movie. Thanks for listening.
Michael F. Nyiri
poet, philosopher, fool, and sometime movie critic