Precious Bodily Fluids

The Fountain


Darren Aronofsky filled The Fountain with overwhelmingly beautiful images, parallel narratives, and practically perfect thematic cohesion. The film continues Aronofsky’s trademark super-extreme closeups and obsession with earthy textures reminiscent of Requiem for a Dream. But whereas Requiem tried and succeeded to be a tragedy among tragedies, The Fountain, though somewhat tragic, is richer and fuller through its audacious claim to hope. It’s probably equally as humorless as Requiem (especially with its casting of the quintessentially humorless Hugh Jackman), but the presence of its more hopeful love story and the transcendent aspirations of its protagonist create a more palatable story, or series of stories. Yet as with the characters in Requiem, Tommy (Jackman) is fueled by a misguided obsession: a quest for eternal youth. Izzy (Rachel Weisz) is the requiem to Tommy’s dream, peacefully resigned to the inevitability of death and convinced that it’s part of a circle of life. Her rather Buddhistic aspirations are paradoxically realized with biblical imagery, offering a reincarnational spin to the Tree of Life of Genesis. While it’s the imagery that steals the show in The Fountain, it’s the extremely well-balanced narrative form that gives it credence. What would otherwise be a special effects extravaganza is deepened and broadened by its substantial foundation in themes that really are of universal and ultimate importance. Aronofsky refuses to let the film end in futility, despite what Tommy’s resignation implies. The story within the film, co-written by the couple, more than effectively illustrates the parallel beauty that is love. Two stories and the idea that fuels them are braided into a single one, each detail offering truly perfect counterpoints in the other and in the metanarrative: the film itself. The extreme long shots, mid-shots, and extreme closeups also remain strikingly balanced, contributing the camera to the narrative and theme as parallel means to a most glorious end. (Image courtesy of here, which includes a better and longer review.)

This entry was published on November 23, 2008 at 1:05 am. It’s filed under 2000s Cinema and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “The Fountain

  1. I watched this film a week or so after my mother’s death with no foreknowledge of the story, and the pain and beauty were so cathartic I cried the tears I had yet to cry.

  2. PS: I read the review over at the House Next Door and submitted this comment:

    “An impressive “outline”. But your over-anaylse and in the process distance yourself from the very real pain and beauty on the screen.

    A week or so after my mother’s death, after a period of rapid decline and heart-rending delirium, I saw this film with no foreknowledge of the story, and the pain and beauty were so cathartic I cried the tears I had yet to cry.

    There is truth in this film, and like life itself, truth is never neatly packaged with a nice bow.

    I am sorry but your betray a certain arrogance and glibness that should have been tempered by a degree of humility, when talking of a work that tries to encompass so much with such sincerity and humanity.”

  3. Pingback: The Wrestler « Precious Bodily Fluids

  4. this film is the best film that i see untill now
    i love it

  5. Rachel Weisz should have been always the leading lady of the Mummy movies because she really fits that role `

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