Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Drama, Musical, Romance
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.
A love-it-or-hate-it experience, Moulin Rouge is all style, all giddy, over-the-top spectacle. But it's also daring in its vision and wildly original.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 01 Jun 2001 Released:
  • 18 Dec 2001 DVD Release:
  • $55.1M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

The most original and groundbreaking movie of recent history10/10

I have seen Moulin Rouge at least 25 times. I think it is the most extraordinary movie of my generation and breaks every limit set by the industry. I have heard all the traditional complaints...people didn't like the music, the editing was too swift, or it wasn't "their taste". Moulin Rouge took a risk. A risk films like A Beautiful Mind and Shakespeare in Love don't. It risked by being controversial. To make a likeable movie isn't hard, follow the Hollywood mold and stick in a few attractive actors, some bland dialogue and viola you have a film. Moulin Rouge was made knowing that not everyone would like it, but knowing everyone would at least appreciate it for its artistic ingenuity. Visually it is superb, an indulgent feast for the eyes with every breathtaking, artistic scene. Everything about it is over the top, every scene more stunning than the next, and as it continues your heart becomes more and more intertwined in the love story. The editing in the Roxanne scene rushes through your body and is the most incredible of any movie in history. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGreggor are the most passionate on-screen couple; entirely convincing as their voices meld them together into one. Never has a movie done what Moulin Rouge did. It realized that the world of film is only being represented in one small way, whereas Moulin Rouge uses a camera and screen to make something bigger and more extraordinary than has ever been made before. It pushes against the confines of convention and leaves you breathless.
One of the few movies out there worth watching several times, just because of the sheer visual and musical enchantment. **** (out of four)10/10

MOULIN ROUGE! / (2001) **** (out of four)

By Blake French:

"Moulin Rouge!" revives our imagination and relives the musical era of Hollywood. The film is like an extravagant, expensive Broadway production on screen, with enough open courage, engrossing passion, and zesty energy for several motion pictures. It's one of the year's best films; "Moulin Rouge!" may be a cliche-ridden love triangle, but Baz Luhrmann, the film's director, shines a fresh, stunning originality on a familiar plot. He creates a candid, exuberant style for his characters-a mixture between a fast-paced music video and lush, exotic images. He uses a vast variety of camera placements and shooting angles. In several of the songs, he cuts on nearly every word. This does indeed make us dizzy, but it is the perfect approach to the material.

From the opening moments, "Moulin Rouge!" plays full force, overpowering our senses. The film doesn't even wait for its opening credits to begin. The usual 20th Century Fox logo appears on the screen within a screen as a little bald musician rises from the bottom, and continues to frantically conduct the traditional Fox fanfare. From this, we cut to "The Sound of Music," where young writer morns over the loss of his true love. The film includes an interesting use of the bookend structure, and I like how it reveals the information about the main character's deadly disease early. This is the kind of movie that does not need to astonish us with sudden plot twists or unexpected character revelations. The joy of watching "Moulin Rouge!" is in the visual stimulation; the plot is more interested in its own character's discoveries than playing mind games with the audience.


Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman prove that they can really sing. Most of the time, celebrity singers turn to the silver screen with a lot of star power but little acting ability. Look at LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, and I just know Brittany Spears is going to turn up in a movie one of these days. "Moulin Rouge" may be one of the first movies to open musical doors for its leading performers. Even Jim Broadbent proves to be well cast in a crazy, intensified character that he really sinks his teeth into. I will never look at any of these stars in the same light again, even, to my great reluctance, John Leguizamo.

The film takes place in the early 19th century, as Christian (McGregor) enters Paris hoping to write love stories. Several peculiar figures live above him, including the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec (Leguizamo) and his Bohemian troupe attempting to construct a play. After a freak accident, Christian is suddenly thrust into the middle of their play. The crew hires him as the star writer. He then takes a visit to the flirtatious Moulin Rouge night club, ran by the robust Harold Zinder (Jim Broadbent). It is here where he tries to persuade the club's popular, sexy lead performer and courtesan, Satine (Kidman), to work in their production.


After mistaking Christian for a rich and powerful aristocrat, The Duke (Richard Roxburgh), Satine falls in love with Christian, much to the dismay of many. However, she believes herself to be a simple prostitute, who should never fall in love because it will get in the way of success. When the Duke agrees to produce a major production at the Moulin Rogue, but only under his circumstances, things become even more complicated. The Duke demands that Satine becomes his personal property if Harold and the others want his financial support.

Obviously, the best thing in "Moulin Rouge!" is the music. Apart from the cast, the film's big list of musical artists includes David Bowe, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink, Fatboy Slim, Beck, and many others. The kind of music that plays here does not account for a period epic at all, however. "Moulin Rouge!" doesn't try to be a historic depiction, but instead an expression of fantasy and passion. The elegant sets, eventful style, and powerful choreography scream modern day, post-pop-culture. I ran out to purchase the motion picture soundtrack. You should, too. But listening to the soundtrack on your CD player at home is nothing like experiencing the memorable singing and dancing, sexual energy, and relentless enthusiasm on the big screen.


As I say in very few film critiques, some movies are you watch, others you experience. "Moulin Rouge" is an experience not to be missed. It is a bizarre, unique blend of exhaustive energy and lively action-one of the bravest, most ambitious and entertaining movies of the year.

A stunning, visual feast5/10

At the risk of sounding overly bombastic, "Moulin Rouge" is the best film I've seen all year, perhaps the best one I've seen in over a year. It is operatic in the best sense of the word, being at once massively outlandish and deeply personal. It is clear that a lot of people took career risks in choosing this film, and although "Moulin Rouge" may not rack up a huge box office, I think this film will become a classic alongside his other two films "Strictly Ballroom" and "Romeo + Juliet."

In the showing of "Moulin Rouge" I saw last week, at least 5 people walked out. At the same time I heard audience members audibly gasping at the films visuals and talking back to the screen. The source of these strong reactions? Baz Luhrmann's confidence in his garish cinematic vision and the commitment his actors have in him. The cast fills their roles with relish, even when the entire scene totters on the edge of overkill--but oddly enough, it is the focus that sets "Moulin Rouge" apart from other films these days. Whereas some actors sleepwalk through their roles as they collect their paychecks, everything about "Moulin Rouge" is done in earnest.

This movie is the anti-"Pearl Harbor," because instead of being a hodgepodge of market-tested ideas, "Moulin Rouge" presents a bold vision and dares the audience to accept or reject it. I, for one, accepted it with delight. A telling comparison: Luhrmann has Nicole Kidman and Ewen MacGregor sing the film's love song. Very daring. For "Pearl Harbor" Michael Bay chose Faith Hill. Very safe. Too safe. Can you imagine Ben Afleck belting out "There You'll Be"?

"Moulin Rouge" glitters with such bold decisions. It is a sumptuous feast for ear and eye featuring gorgeous costumes, intricate sets (Nicole Kidman's boudoir in a gigantic elephant is a case in point), and outlandishly choreographed dance numbers are paraded with frenetic relish. And the music, the MUSIC! As you probably know by now, Luhrmann has thrown into his period piece a collage of musical snippets from, among many bits, "The Sound of Music," Madonna, The Police, and Elton John. In most cases, no one song gets performed without intersplicing. Witness Luhrmann's audacity: the opening number includes a melding of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And here's the spooky part: it works.

The entire movie plays this way, and for the most part it works. Most surpising is that "Moulin Rouge" has a solid, deeply sincere emotional core. Although the film professes to be about love, I'd add that it is equally about loss. The Moulin Rouge is a playground where adults pretend they are children with the added spice of sensuality.

All the performances are excellent, but the hidden gem is Jim Broadbent as Zidler. Broadbent for years has been doing majestically understated supporting work, from "Brazil" to "Enchanted April" to "Topsy-Turvy." In "Moulin Rouge" he manages to be both repulsive and endearing. His spirited rendition of "Like a Virgin" is classic. Too bad it's not on the soundtrack.

Expect to be overwhelmed by "Moulin Rouge" in the most unexpected, delightful ways. It will make you wonder why other films can't or won't dare to be that bold.
This is a musical for people who don't like musicals.10/10

This was easily one of the best movies I've seen in years. Rarely do movies have a visual force capable of stunning you into rapt silence; and even more rare are films able to further this with a soundtrack that can move you and ensnare you as well, if not better, than the images. Yet some how, through genius, magic, luck, or some combination, Moulin Rouge has managed to do both. In truth Moulin Rouge is a fusion of two fabulous films into one. A film of images capable of conveying meaning without dialog or music, and a film which you could feel and understand with out needing to see it. Much effort was obviously spent on both the visual and audio aspects of this film, and by choosing not to focus on one over the other, and sacrifice the songs for the story or vice versa, the filmmakers were able to make a truly unique, modern musical which those of us who have hated musical since childhood could enjoy. Moulin Rouge is a blend of old, established techniques with innovative experimental ones, resulting in a movie which could only have been made in our time, yet which has a classic feel. The acting is wonderful, the mixture of modern songs is ingenious, and the cinematography is at times simply amazing. The end result is a stunning film with unbelievable performances; a cinematic experience that people will be loving, analyzing and trying to imitate for year.
I am in love with "Moulin Rouge"!10/10

I have not ever felt for a movie the way I do about "Moulin Rouge." It is not just a movie...it is a cinematic experience the likes of which I have never before seen. The story, the music, the acting, the visual imagery strikes emotion in me I never before thought possible from a film. It is without a doubt the most brilliant piece of cinematic art I have ever seen. It is dizzy, maddening, beautiful, and heartbreaking! The music is rapturous, and Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman's voices compliment each other and the story perfectly. This movie takes its story to a mythic level and surrounds these two star-crossed lovers with music and imagery that simply will take your breath away. The story is grand, huge, and operatic, as is the music. The brilliant score skillfully weaves many modern, popular songs, and rescores them as the libretto to this grand opera. There are some images in this film unlike anything you have ever seen. And the performances are absolutely incredible, particularly Nicole Kidman's. I truly felt for these two people, and truly felt that they were in love. My heart broke into a million pieces for them every time I saw this movie, and I've seen it 8 times. It's an absolutely breathtaking, visionary, masterpiece that did not get the credit it deserved by American critics, who seem to complain that every movie is the same. Yet when an original, daring, shocking film like this comes along, they don't know what to do with it. But then again, this really is not just a film. No mere film could strike me the way this one has, in a way that reaches to the very fibres of my being in a way only "The Wizard of Oz" ever has before. Yes, the story is sad, but what a journey it takes you on! A journey I will be sure to repeat over and over and over again.