‘The Fountain’: I Couldn’t Stop Crying

After doing a recent post ranking all of the movies I’ve seen featuring Hugh Jackman one of my readers suggested I should watch The Fountain. Considering that I have begun to really enjoy watching Hugh Jackman films, especially ones that involve him not playing the hero, Wolverine, I decided to give it a look. Oh my goodness, wow.

First off, The Fountain is definitely not for everybody. Its one hour and thirty-six minute storyline features Jackman and his co-star Rachel Weisz over three different timelines in a strange plot that tackles the idea of death and the afterlife.

The movie was a bit odd at first, well honestly, it was odd all the way through but its story was solid enough to process and boy I just couldn’t stop crying after a while.

Maybe it was Clint Mansell’s hypnotically solemn score that had me bursting into tears as he imbued each scene with such emotional impact. Or maybe it was simply the powerful performances by its star actors, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, who managed to imbue so much feeling into their scenes together. Or maybe, simply, it was the film’s emotional storyline that continued to gnaw at me.

Gosh, I’m still wiping tears while I write this.

Thank you Eric Foley for recommending this movie to me. It was exceptionally weird and so perfectly written that I have to applaud its brilliance. It’s a movie I will never forget.

I’ll give this movie 95 out of 100 and 4.5 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t perfect but heck, it was GOOD.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a splendid day.

3 thoughts on “‘The Fountain’: I Couldn’t Stop Crying”

  1. Heeeee! I feel important now! πŸ™ƒ

    Yeah… this movie isn’t for everybody… it’s *extremely* weird and surreal. It’s open to a ton of interpretation as to what’s really going on, and what’s real and what isn’t. There’s two or three main ways I can think of to interpret it:

    Interpretation 1: Jackman and Weisz are the doctor and his wife in “real life,” and each alternate story is a metaphor for the mental process the each of them is going through to cope with her imminent death and its aftermath. The “Mayan” story is straight out of her poetic writing in the book, out of hope he might find a cure for her before she dies. She’s romanticizing his quest while trying to tell him it’s okay to let her go — the refrain “finish it” is similar to “Up”, with Ellie telling Carl in her own book that her life with him was a perfect adventure exactly the way it was, and that he should go have a new one after she’s gone. “The bubble” is his own mental metaphor for trying to make peace with her death after he fails to save her. He is… not dealing with this well at all, and he’s in a very painful place as he tries to make sense of it and overcome his guilt for the fact that he both couldn’t save, and his efforts to do so robbed him of most of his last moments with her. Her last words are, quite against her intent, haunting him, because he doesn’t understand what she meant and isn’t handling it well at all. She meant it as an encouraging “finish our fairy tale after I’m gone”, and he simply couldn’t hear that in her words and is confused over it in his grief.

    This is probably the least surreal possible interpretation, and is perhaps the most emotional as well. It’s a very painful viewing of it, and if you try to make sense of the movie on the most grounded terms, probably the best way to look at it.

    Interpretation 2: The movie takes place across several lifetimes, and all three stories are real. The movie is thus a fantasy of sorts. The two main characters are reincarnated instances of themselves, following the same destiny across three lives that all involve tragedy of some form. In each, he’s trying to get it right to save her, and in each, he fails in some way. The queen is trying to send him out to save her, the doctor is trying to save his wife, and the lone astronaut is haunted by ghost from his past lifetimes in a futuristic spacecraft trying to find his peace in the stars. This interpretation is probably the most removed from “normal” reality, but takes everything on the screen at face value.

    Interpretation 3: still a fantasy movie, but the three stories are multiple threads happening in parallel worlds at the same time. This is perhaps similar to the first interpretation, but still takes all the events of the movie at face value. However, the queen’s quest and the doctor’s search for a cure are happening in parallel first, and the astronaut afterwards is still trying to cope with her death afterwards.

    Since the movie obviously doesn’t tell you which is true (or even if any of them are), it can be taken as either very abstract or very philosophical. There are many fields of philosophical thought that hold that our perceptions are not real, and this film could be interpreted as saying some combination of what I’ve written as 1 and 3 are both true at the same time – that in the real world, he is losing her, she’s trying to cope with her own terminal illness in her own way, and he’s failed to deal with her death afterwards very well… but at the same time, their minds are each effectively creating their own reality that’s as real and as important to them as what’s happening to their own physical bodies. People, in real life, have a tendency to drop into a fantasy world of their own making in their own heads, sometimes to a point where those fantasies become more important to them than their real lives as an escape from pain.

    I… might be able to relate to that, not to a point where I ever went bordering on nuts like this movie shows, but… the end of my first marriage kind of sent me into a bit of a tailspin, where escapist dreaming sometimes became more important to me as a coping mechanism than the real time efforts to put my life back together. (Which involves both emotional healing and job retraining…. let’s just say that a lot of things fell apart for me at once.) Sometimes my stories would go in bad directions themselves (partly because they were done in cooperative form with other people, so I didn’t have full control), and it had very real blowback for me emotionally when it did. I still do a decent amount of creative writing and other such things, but it’s more in its own box today. But there was a time when, arguably, it wasn’t.

    So, in the end, I think that the “right” interpretation is a combination of the first and last one. The normal, physical world is “real”, but their fantasy worlds have also “become real” to them. Something that emotional? It happens. So their alternate selves become a real thing to them in their own minds, and the movie simply follows them through all the threads that result.

    But, of course, the movie is extremely abstract about this, and you don’t really know. It takes a ton of thought to really get there. Enough that you might be able to write a blurb like this even though you haven’t seen it in twelve years, because it sticks with you enough that when you see someone else’s thoughts on it, it kinda all comes back. πŸ˜…πŸ˜–

    Liked by 1 person

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