Whether this is for Valentine’s Day or your solo Netflix night, this is the movie to watch. #TBT to when Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor set relationship goals for everyone.
A friend of mine actually introduced this move to me while I was in France. With a free DVD and a laptop, we ended up watching this movie in French while eating birthday cake and drinking wine. Though it was extremely difficult to understand (considering this was not an easy plotline), I thoroughly enjoyed it and actually wanted to write a movie review of Moulin Rouge the minute I got back to my room. Never had the time, unfortunately, but now I’m just getting around to it. And it’s the perfect time.
I liked it so much that I bought the English version for myself a couple of weeks later. I also wanted to see Nicole Kidman speak with her own voice rather than some weird lip-synching action going on with French voices.
So why Moulin Rouge?
Let me start with explaining my slight obsession: I love bizarre movies. I will be honest in saying that I have met a good number of people who absolutely hated this movie because it’s weird. Then again, what’s wrong with being weird? If anything, Baz Luhrmann transformed a simple love story into a work of art that was nominated for almost every Academy award within its year. Personally, I appreciated the movie because it pulled out truths in our lives that really tests who we are as human beings: selfish, deceiving, needy, helpless, and so many more.
Directly translated, Moulin Rouge means “Red Mill” in French. Like almost every other word in the English language, the French translation just sounds more…aesthetically pleasing. More elegant and extravagant. After seeing the nightclub scenes in this movie, I expected the same level of glamour in real life. Where I could go to the Moulin Rouge and drink wine while watching shows with my best friends.
Then I went to Paris to go see what the Moulin Rouge looks like. And it was nothing like I expected.
Not to mention that there are sex shops lined on both sides of this street. Then did I realize that this used to be the place for men to go and find prostitutes or watch the old-day version of strippers perform on stage. It was bright with colors and lights and sparkles. And in France, that is all that is needed to become unsophisticated and flamboyant.
But the film creates a sort of taste that is very difficult to find in another movies. Yes, this movie is romantic, but at the same time, it is exposed and uproariously hilarious. My advice to you, when you first watch this movie, is to just stick to it. Don’t turn it off just yet. Just like with many things you want to explore, don’t give up just yet. The gem is there – it’s just about building the appreciation for it.
1. Basic love story gone wild. Simple enough. Boy falls in love with unattainable girl, who ends up falling for him as well. Third man is after unattainable girl, so the original couple have a secret love affair. However, this only builds the base of Moulin Rouge where “anything can happen.” With Kidman playing a sickly prostitute, she adds depth to the character, Satine, as this woman tries to find her own path to love and a happy life without feeling trapped by others who try to control her. Even though McGregor plays the main character (who narrates), he seems to play more of a role as the supporting character, centering his own story around Satine’s, which really just makes this story even more beautiful.
2. One of the best forms of parallelism ever seen. The problem is that if I described this
more in detail, I would spoil the movie because the whole movie IS parallelism. Part of the reason why many people don’t like Moulin Rouge is because they don’t understand it. I’m not calling anyone out, I think, because the people who have admitted that they don’t like it have told me that they just don’t understand it. Well, should you not like something simply because you don’t understand it? That’s like sitting in your first major class, thinking it’s too hard on the first day, and then quitting because you didn’t like the fact it was hard. Keep at it! The parallelism is the source of the beauty, and it takes a little more digging to truly appreciate and understand the story line as presented.
3. Intertwining contemporary and traditional music into the plotline is intriguing. This isn’t your basic Disney original song where everyone breaks out into dance to sing about the happiness of life. Yes, there is random bursts of musical numbers (which makes this movie so freaking weird and cool), but the songs are actually mixes and covers of already well-known loved songs. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna. “Your Song” by Elton John. “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” by Marilyn Monroe. The best part about these mixes is that Luhrmann integrates them into the plotline so well that it almost fits. Note the word “almost.” What makes this movie so great is that little “almost” gap, making the songs stand out more.
So whether you’re with your significant other or by yourself tomorrow, I highly recommend this movie if you want to watch something that is not a romantic comedy on Netflix. Give it a chance! Take a leap of faith! After all, isn’t that what life is all about?