The Fountain

“I do love Darren Aronofsky. Requiem for a Dream is an all time favorite, and Black Swan an all time favorite Halloween costume (I even resurrected it this year for my yoga studio’s Halloween class and I won our costume contest, mostly by default since I kept my tutu on thru the whole practice whereas other people de-accessorized). The Fountain, however, just doesn’t do it for me.

This does, however, only make twice that I’ve seen it, so maybe it needs another go. The first time, I was into it and then confused. This time, I was a little bored, and then found myself continually rolling my eyes.

Hugh Jackman plays a doctor researching brain cancer, in hopes of curing his ailing wife Rachel Weisz. That much of the story I can get behind. Our two leads give truly impassioned performances, and it’s a strong and compelling story. But that’s not the only layer. There’s a story within the story where Weisz’s Izzi is writing a book about a Spanish conquistador searching for the fountain of youth or tree of life or whatever will make him rich and his queen immortal. I’m still with this layer. It makes sense and gives a beautiful parallel to our present day plotline. Where you lose me is with the futuristic (I think?) stuff with bald Hugh Jackman and the tree. It’s weird and it makes no sense, but it’s trying to come off as profound.

I played a bit of the behind the scenes features while I was wrapping up my gaming that night. I didn’t pay full attention, but I got the sense that when Aronofsky wrote this, he just thought it was cool. There wasn’t any sort of big universal truths or thinly veiled allegory he was going for. He just wanted to try something scifi, and that’s what we got. I could be entirely mischaracterizing him (again, I’m admitting to not paying attention to the whole thing), but I could see that. Maybe it’s a classic case of the viewer seeing a film thru their own lens, putting their own story on display. Or it’s a director just wanting to do something that looks cool. Regardless, I’ve either gotta give this film one more try and really focus, or just let it go. Given that he does have at least one clunker on his resume, I’m inclined to leave The Fountain alone”

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