Offbeat Movies

I love movies that are quirky and well made and well acted. Here you will find reviews of movies you may not have heard of (I will try to avoid commercial successes, but some of them are good) that caught my attention because they are thought-provoking, have interesting story lines, unique characters, and good acting.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Fountain

The Fountain is my favourite movie of all time. I have watched it several times, and it makes me cry every time. It’s appeal has not worn off.

The first time you watch the movie it is a bit hard to follow. It helps if you know that there are three parallel stories going on. The first is a novel that Izzy (Rachel Weisz) is writing, in which Queen Isabel of Spain has sent Conquistador Tomas (Hugh Jackman) to find the Fountain of Youth for her. It will save her from the Inquisition, which is taking over Spain. She gives him a gold ring and promises that they will be together, like Adam and Eve, when he returns from his mission.

The second story is set in present day. Dr Tommy Creo is desperate to find a cure for the brain cancer that is killing his wife Izzy. So desperate the he alienates his colleagues and neglects Izzy. He refuses to accept her fate.

The third story is a continuation of the first, set in the future, in which a virtually immortal Tommy Creo, in a bubble-like spaceship, is trying to resurrect Izzy. He has abandoned science for spirituality, and this is an all-or-nothing quest. It is his last resort.

Tommy has his own quest in each storyline, but Izzy has given him another one: to finish her novel. This request plagues him. He doesn’t know how the story ends.

If you can’t follow the story very well on first viewing, you can just sit back and be dazzled by the visual beauty of the film. Everywhere is golden light - lamps, candles, stars, sparks from welding, torches, sunrise. Tomas/Tommy is perpetually in gold-lit gloom. Brilliant daylight is available to him, and Izzy goes toward it, but not Tommy.

There are also repeated motifs: the straight line of roads and highways (watch for the crossroads); the stylized flower pattern/Mayan depiction of the star Xibalba; the fine hairs on the back of Izzy’s neck; the wedding band that Tommy loses while scrubbing up for surgery. If you are an English student and you want to analyze symbolism, this movie is rich with it. 

The love between Isabel/Izzy and Tomas/Tommy is profound and unshakeable. It is romance without mushiness or melodrama - the kind that the kid in the Princess Bride would find acceptable, despite some kissing. Watch it with someone you love.

And yes, Hugh Jackman can act.


Buy this movie

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