“MAAAAAA GIFT IS MAAAA SOOOOOOOOOOOOONG.”
…etc. That’s all I hear whenever someone mentions this week’s ‘I Remember’ movie: Moulin Rouge. I just play that clip of Ewan McGregor exploding into song for Nicole Kidman in my head, and it really makes me chuckle. I never felt like he looked particularly comfortable in a musical, despite the fact that this isn’t your usual bubblegum-and-rainbows musical with fun dance numbers. In my head, he’ll always be wielding a lightsaber. Oo-er.
YES! Moulin Rouge. Baz Luhrmann steers at the helm for this tragic love story set at the famous dance hall of Paris, complete with cancan dancers, evil maharajahs, a pint-sized artist and the casual nicking of popular songs by David Bowie and Elton John (although those kids can Glee off: Moulin Rouge was here first.)
The whole thing is a circus. Just when you think it’s getting serious and problematic and something brown and smelly is about to hit the fan, an unconscious Argentinean falls through the roof. Then they all drink Absinthe and Kylie Minogue shows up, trussed up like Tinkerbell. Which makes me ask: ‘How can one of the greatest love stories in recent cinematic history begin so bizarrely?’
Yes, I know that’s a bold statement: ‘greatest love story’. But these are two really quite lovely characters. Christian is the sweet English writer, who travels to Paris to write about love, despite having no knowledge of it. He’s got a cracking singing voice, and as described by his good friend Toulouse, a huuuuuuuge…talent.
He meets Satine, chief sexy lady of the Moulin Rouge, and REDHEAD, Nicole Kidman. And after one of those hilarious misunderstandings of confused identity (“Oh my god, you’re….not the Duke?!” You get it), they fall in love and embark on a not-too-inconspicuous affair. Of course, disaster ensues and although we’re led to believe that true love will conquer all, it’s not exactly the case. If all the best love stories end in disaster (Titanic, Romeo & Juliet, The Notebook, etc), then you can lump this in the collection too.
The sets are incredibly lavish, the editing is quick-paced and hilarious, and above all Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are great. For me, Jim Broadbent playing Harold Zidler, the owner of the joint, was the real revelation. He was the ringleader of the operation, and pulled all the strings, embodying all the madness of the Moulin Rouge. The modern music and the turn-of-the-century backdrop may seem like an odd combination, but it really works.
….COOOOOOOOOOME WHAAAAAAAAAT MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.
Relive the film and sing your heart out with the cast of Moulin Rouge!