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The Fountain (2006)


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 196
Fresh: 100
Rotten: 96

Critics Consensus: The Fountain -- a movie about metaphysics, universal patterns, Biblical symbolism, and boundless love spread across one thousand years -- is visually rich but suffers from its own unfocused ambitions.

Average Rating: 4.4/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 36

Critics Consensus: The Fountain -- a movie about metaphysics, universal patterns, Biblical symbolism, and boundless love spread across one thousand years -- is visually rich but suffers from its own unfocused ambitions.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 260,014


Movie Info

Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky switches gears from drug-induced urban malaise to abstract science fiction with this time-tripping symbolic tale of a man's thousand-year quest to save the woman he loves. Moving between representational stories and images, this meditation on life and death focuses on the concept of the mythical Tree of Life that is said to bestow immortality to all who drink of its sap. In one of the film's allegorical timelines, a 16th century Spanish conquistador … More

PG-13 (for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
May 18, 2007
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Fountain

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (96) | DVD (30)

I will concede the film is not a great success. Too many screens of blinding lights. Too many transitions for their own sake. Abrupt changes of tone.

Full Review… | September 14, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Lurches on a thin line between hyper-ornate space oddity and extended perfume advert.

Full Review… | January 25, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

The Fountain is the story of a gifted artist who dared to reach for the stars and paid for his ambition with a really stupid movie.

Full Review… | November 30, 2006
Top Critic

Mr. Aronofsky's outlook on life remains too constantly pessimistic for my taste, and too completely joyless as well.

Full Review… | November 29, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

Darren Aronofsky clearly didn't set out to make a usual movie...[The Fountain's] a story of overreaching that itself overreaches, but that might have been impossible to avoid.

Full Review… | November 27, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

This is one of the worst movies of the year.

Full Review… | November 27, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Perhaps in twenty more years or so, [The Fountain] will be recognized for the utterly gorgeous masterpiece that it is.

Full Review… | February 20, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

The enormous, and sometimes inspired, visual arc of Aronofsky's reach sadly exceeds his narrative's basic grasp.

Full Review… | November 16, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Visual alchemist Darren Aronofsky's most personal work is a double helix of love and loss - death entwined with life as existence's only reliable truths. It offers a transfixing merger of biological imperatives and musings on creativity and tragedy.

Full Review… | September 24, 2010

A metaphysical muddle.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Boston Phoenix

It's difficult to recall another American film that, in pursuing a passionate and personal vision, goes so maddeningly, uproariously wrong.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Sight and Sound

The continuous sense of deeply felt discovery tempers the movie's overreaching pretentiousness

Full Review… | August 28, 2009

You can judge for yourself whether a money shot of semenesque tree-sap is a proper payoff, but the movie is at least texturally rich, tonally consistent (brooding, always) and much fussed over by its maker.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

This film raises an interesting question: How far is a viewer willing to follow a talented filmmaker down a rabbit hole, when it becomes clear that said filmmaker has lost his way?

Full Review… | July 7, 2008

It's a simple story told with Zen directness, its fingers deep in the age-old questions, its eyes and ears wide open to the sensual potential of cinema.

Full Review… | February 13, 2008

So simple, so elaborate, and yet so utterly brilliant...

Full Review… | January 23, 2008
Cinema Crazed

Despite its flaws, it's still worth watching.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

Seldom in cinema has eschatology been treated with such intelligence, or inspired such aching awe.

Full Review… | July 6, 2007
Eye for Film

Yes, The Fountain is ridiculous, arguably pretentious, pining for your attention like a sixth grade emo kid. And I love it to pieces.

Full Review… | July 3, 2007
Projection Booth

If one is to be left with something in the end, it is the realization that its creator is fully in love with not just the result of his art, but the very happening of it.

Full Review… | July 1, 2007

It will no doubt find itself aging quite well, appreciated long after its (inevitably short) theatrical run.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

[I]ntrigues me intellectually, [but] it doesn't make me feel anything... But it's one of the more interesting cinematic failures I've ever seen.

Full Review… | May 16, 2007
Flick Filosopher

Beautiful and profoundly moving...This is a film I want to see several more times.

Full Review… | May 14, 2007
Aisle Seat

...more a middling entry in the message/sci-fi/fantasy genre than the groundbreaking venture its ponderous tone would lead us to believe.

Full Review… | May 12, 2007
Movie Metropolis

There are hints of David Lynch's similarly confusing Mulholland Drive and the marvellously bonkers ending of Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey that will repel many more viewers than attract.

Full Review… | February 10, 2007

Audience Reviews for The Fountain

"My God, it's full of shit!"

But seriously folks - after just one viewing - i'm just .. wow - huh?! Watching the film, I was wildly applauding Aronofsky's superballsy audacious vision while simultaneously cringing at his simplistic sentimentality.

2001 + What the Bleep Do We Know + dimestore romance + any episode of E.R. = wtf?

For what it's worth - i thought Hugh Jackman was great - perhaps the only tangible revelation of the film.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

A surgeon desperately searches for a cure for his wife's cancer while absorbing himself into the world represented by her final novel. Darren Aronofsky is nothing if not brave and once again willingly sacrifices mainstream acceptibility to realise his vision. Similar in format to 2046 in that fantasy and reality are happening in parallel on screen, The Fountain is a representation of his musings on mortality, love and loss and coming to terms with personal grief. It is a truly stunning film to look at with an appropriately beautiful score, complimented nicely by a surprisingly sensitive performance by Hugh Jackman. I'm sure some may dismiss the script as a load of pretentious claptrap, but I personally found it both visually and aurally enchanting as well as deeply moving. However you choose to look at it, The Fountain contains the kind of imagination and invention that is all too often missing from mainstream cinema and for that reason alone it is worth 90 minutes of anybody's time.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

I like Darren Aronofsky. His films are just really well made and exude craft. Having liked all the other films of his I've seen, I figured that the inevitable slump would occur eventually, even though I didn't want it to.

There is a lot to like here. It's not quite a bad film, just a deeply flawed one. "Interesting failure" I think is a good way to put it. Or maybe slight failure. The concept is cool, but the plotting, script, and execution are where the issues are. Also, it's okay to be a little obscure and make people have to think, but that's not the case here. This is just confusing and scattered.

The visuals (and preference for camera tricks and practicals over tons of CGI) are amazing. They're are beautiful, and the camera work is likewise gorgeous. The performances are also pretty good, especially since the leads do double and triple duty. I did like the formal techniques and the use odd match cuts and recurring motifs...that's all good, but like I said, the concept and execution are rough.

I did find the film engaging, and got something out of it, even if it's really confusing. As I said, this is a slight failure, but it's interesting, and has merits, so while it isn't quite a real success, there's enough good here to warrant a viewing.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Fountain Quotes

Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo:
All these years, all these memories, there was you. You pulled me through time.
– Submitted by Natasha R (23 months ago)
Isabel/Izzi Creo:
I will not die, not here, not now, never...
– Submitted by Nicholas C (2 years ago)
Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo:
Death is a disease, it's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure - and I will find it.
– Submitted by Gendrith A (2 years ago)
Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo:
There's been progress at work...
Isabel/Izzi Creo:
[laughs] My conquistador! Always conquering...
– Submitted by Gendrith A (2 years ago)
Lord of Xibalba:
Death is the road to awe.
– Submitted by Gendrith A (2 years ago)
Grand Inquisitor Silecio:
Our bodies are prisons for our souls. Our skin and blood, the iron bars of confinement. But fear not. All flesh decays. Death turns all to ash. And thus, death frees every soul.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

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