The Fountain: Beautifully Unexpected

Distributed by Warner Brothers
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Drama
Rated: PG-13

by Kristy Caruso

Fall is notorious for bringing us some truly great movies; perhaps not blockbusters - as those are reserved by Hollywood for summer.  However, some truly poignant films (and I equate film with art”) that would never make a dime amidst the summer blast, get a chance to shine this time of year.  The Fountain is one such film.

What if you could live forever?  This tagline, though slightly misleading, lures the viewer into a beautiful film about a dying woman and her husband’s quest to save her. 

Izzy, played by graceful thespian Rachel Weiss, is a writer suffering from a terminal illness.  Her husband Tommy, played wonderfully by Hugh Jackman, is a doctor/scientist, desperately researching a cure - and he finds one both literally and metaphorically.

This movie, layered and complex, brings us on Tommy’s journey through his wife’s latest novel, titled The Fountain.  The novel takes place in medieval Spain and concerns a conquistador on a quest in South America to find the Fountain of Youth (the sap of a tree) and in turn, the everlasting love of a queen.

The film is symbolic and raises question after question of the viewer:  What if you could live forever?  Do we need to?  Are we, in essence, ALL living forever?  Is true love what keeps our spirits alive?  And finally: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT???

It’s true - it might take a moment to figure out the what, where and why, but it’s there in this film. We move from modern day hospitals to ancient warrior protected shrines to are you ready for this - a giant bubble containing a dying tree and a bald/Moby-looking Hugh Jackman) rising through the galaxy toward a dying star, all in a span of 10 minutes.  Through it all, the viewer cannot help being amazed, if not by the complex storyline, than by the BREATHTAKING sites.  The film is done in an array of yellows and golds and quite honestly, is quintessential visual poetry.  Whether you get the fable correlations of not, your mood will adjust with each and every scene…perhaps even to the point of tears.

The Fountain is in many ways a masterpiece.  It may not be your first choice for this holiday season, as jolly isn’t the best description for the film in any sense of the word, but this is a testament to love and living - and in turn, to dying.  Perhaps the final question and something to ponder while you are trying to figure out what this film (art) is actually about:  How important is our mortality?

Further Points to Ponder

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