I was supposed to be in NYC this weekend (as of writing). But you know. ‘Rona. It was just gonna be a quick weekend trip. Hang with the BFFF. Catch a couple shows. Come right back. The main attraction was to see Moulin Rouge on Broadway. I’d wanted to see it last July, but I was priced out. Oh it was still expensive now, but I had birthday money and flight vouchers. Was also gonna catch Jagged Little Pill, but that was just icing. Moulin Rouge was what I was really there for. But alas, that didn’t happen (although I’m still waiting on my refund from them). So I did the logical thing. I watched the movie at home instead.
Confession. I saw this movie in theaters in 2001. And I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I just did not get it. It was so weird and frenetic and I didn’t understand why people loved this movie. Keep in mind, I was in high school, had not yet gotten into musical theatre, and was far less cultured than I may claim to be now (case in point, I thought the “Heroes” sample was from The Wallflowers). If the film hadn’t been so beloved, I woulda left it at that. But it was beloved. And it persisted. And the music kept crossing my path. I couldn’t get away from it. The music is what pulled me back in.
Eventually I watched it again in college, after the theatre obsession began. I still didn’t love it, but I appreciated it more. And the music kept me going. Over the years, the music would get me to watch it again, and I’d enjoy it even more. I don’t know when the flip happened, but eventually I was converted and I absolutely adored this film. All the flourishes and quirks that I once thought were strange were now beautiful. I love the artistry and that frenetic pace and that passionate explosion of love and beauty.
This rewatch was bittersweet. I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve watched it, so a lot of it felt like it was brand new. And it did look absolutely stunning on a giant 4K screen (even on an old DVD). My eyes took some time to adjust to all the bright and flashing lights, but I loved it. I sang along with every song. I soaked in every detail. And I imagined what the stage version must have looked like. What it must have sounded like. I’m so in love with Ewan McGregor in this film, but Broadway star Aaron Tveit is another love of mine, so I tried picturing what he’d bring to it.
I generally avoid buying Broadway soundtracks until after I’ve seen the show, but I downloaded it that night. I’m just now pushing play on it, but I’ll have it to look forward to for this evening’s walk around the block. I know I’ll get to see the show in some form one day. I still intend to make it out to NYC at some point once it’s safe (still gotta hang with the bestie after all) and I know it’ll be on tour. Maybe I won’t get to see it with Aaron, but I will see it. But for now, I have the original movie and the new soundtrack. And that’ll be enough. I know in the grand scheme of things I’m still coming out of this thing pretty unscathed. I’ve been so blessed to see so many shows, that if giving up one (well two, but I wasn’t as attached to the other) means that me and others get to stay healthy and safe, then it’s a small price I’ll gladly pay.