Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
|Featuring||Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo, Richard Roxburgh|
|Distributor||Twentieth Century Fox|
Christian (Ewan McGregor) is a writer who has just moved into a squalid apartment in Paris, circa 1899. He meets diminutive artist Toulouse Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who’s rehearsing a play he hopes to show at the Moulin Rouge.
Lautrec sets up a meeting for Christian with Satine (Nicole Kidman), the star of the cabaret, who’s also a courtesan. However, Satine’s boss, Zidler (Jim Broadbent), has arranged for the star to meet with a rich duke who is interested in bankrolling a show. The foppish Duke agrees to put up money for a production, promising to make Satine a real actress, but he also wants to possess her as well. Satine and Christian are forced to hide their romance. Unbeknown to both Christian and the Duke, Satine carries a secret that will have a negative effect on everyone.
Take away the music, costumes and the dancing, and “Moulin Rouge” is just the same old boy meets girl story we’ve seen hundreds of times. In fact, the story’s predictable end is given away within the opening scenes. The movie is like being on an amusement park ride, and you can’t take it seriously. McGregor and Kidman aren’t bad singers, and the story depends on their charm. Instead of using period music, the characters sing 20th century pop and rock tunes. Some of the songs fit, like “Nature Boy”, “Lady Marmalade” and “Your Song”. “The Sound Of Music” does not. It was also a stretch to use “In The Name Of Love” which refers to Dr. Martin Luther King.
There is no profanity. There is a scene where Zidler sings “Like A Virgin” to the Duke. Homosexual undertones are evident. Violence is at a minimum. The sex in the movie is implicit, but the whole night club setting is heavily sensual.