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The Fountain Reviews

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Bob S

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2007
"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.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2007
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.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2006
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.
Matthew Samuel M

Super Reviewer

July 5, 2013
In Pi and Black Swan, Aronofsky proved to be a brilliant filmmaker, worthy of being compared to Roman Polanski. This is what makes The Fountain such a frustrating and bleak disappointment. It was possibly the easiest film to become bored with that I have ever seen. It is melodramatic--with almost laughably bad dialogue--and a confusing and useless storyline. It is strange to think that this disaster of a film came from the same genius who brought us such masterpieces like Black Swan. But I suppose every director must have his bad film. This one should have never seen the light of day. Aronofsky should stick with films based on the human psyche. Fiction/fantasy is not a genre he should delve into again.
Josh L

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2013
The Fountain is an incredibly ambitious film that crams too much into its slim 90 minutes, but has just enough moments to keep it from being the disaster it could have been. The story isn't the most involving thing in the world and goes back and forth between three very distinct & different stories all tied together by the subject & characters it is portraying. The visuals are solid as is the acting, but the pacing could have used a little adjusting. It starts and ends very slow, even though the middle section was the most involved part for me as a whole and kept my attention. The Fountain has lofty ambitions and tackles many subjects all at once and doesn't quite do some of them as well as others. Some feel a little "tacked-on" and pretentious at times, but others are delivered pretty well. This film has started to take on a little bit of a cult classic status and I can see why. It will make you think hard and requires perhaps a little too much from the viewer after a first viewing, but subsequent viewings certainly seem like they would be more rewarding. I may not ever re-watch this film, but I have a feeling I would end up liking it more if I did. Aronofsky is an incredibly talented director and even though this isn't his best work to date, it's unique and definitely better than most of what Hollywood produces these days. I can't fully recommend it, but if the premise interests you than give it a watch. It might surprise you.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2012
Although it took me a few re-watches to put the entire story together (never a good characteristic for a movie), the raw emotional power of The Fountain blew me away each and every time. Patience required, but highly recommended. One of my favorite movies of all time.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2010
"wat"

That was my response after the movie ended. But I couldn't help but to be mesmerized by the incredible cinematography. But wow, the plot is extremely confusing. This movie is definitely alike with Donnie Darko, but this movie is more engaging with its follow-up to the ending.
Nathan H.
Nathan H.

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2011
The Fountain is a stunning, beautiful film that looks at death in a new angle: as the beginning of life. Not for everyone, but is a well done film, with amazing direction from Aronofsky. Hugh Jackman shows his talent for more than just action scenes, while Rache Weisz gives her all, as always. Be prepared for some confusion, but also be prepared to be in awe.
Richard C

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2010
I really liked this movie. I thought the part of the story that took place in the present was excellent. Everything else ranged from good to okay. The movie overall was great but I didn't love the movie. I thought the part of the story that took place in the past was good but not great. There were also some silly and unintentionally funny parts but there kept to a minimum. A great movie but by no means perfect in my opinion.

Grade: B+
Cameron S

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2011
A beautiful, well acted and incomprehensible film 'The Fountain' not only leaves you bewildered it also leaves you thinking. Understanding the film isn't the point though, the point is to come up with your own explanation and take what you can from that. Before starting I expected a completely different film but overall I was pleased with what I got, even if I did have to Google it after.
Matthew S

Super Reviewer

June 11, 2011
Spanning 1000 years and filled with linking metaphors between the three storylines, this movie is surreal enough that any explanation of the literal story can be refuted. ultimately though it's asking if it is a tragedy, or a story of timeless redemption. Is heaven on earth? This movie raises a lot of fun questions about who we are, who/what we are from, and of who/what we will become a part.
Emile T

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2007
One can look for the meaning of this piece of art for as long as one wants, it is as simple as that: Aronofsky uses the cinematic medium to put on screen a fable that will someday be appreciated for what it is. A mind-blowing and gorgeous fable, also featuring an epic score from Clint Mansell and a memorable performance from Hugh Jackman.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2011
Absolutely amazing. At first I was rather confused and couldn't understand what the point was but by the end most things were clear. I like narratives like this with twists and turns. I think it's about life and death and how if people fear death, then it's something to be feared. But if you embrace death as a natural part of your life then you can live beyond death and have something different to look forward to. It's very spiritual. I liked the juxtoposition between the past, the (relative) present, and the future showing how religion and spiritualism has been around for a long time and is an important part of many peoples lives. Fantastic performances, especially from Jackman. Brilliant.
blkbomb
blkbomb

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2011
I really like Darren Aronofsky and that was why I was able to overlook a lot of negative reviews and watch The Fountain. Richard Roeper went as far at to say, "This is one of the worst movies of the year." I wouldn't go that far, but it isn't great. I didn't care for any of the performances, especially Rachael Weisz. Aronofsky is a great director though, and the story is for the most part cool. That isn't to say it's not a little ridiculous because it is. The story jumps from one place in time to another(supposedly). You have troubles grasping the plot just remember that Izzi is writing a book called The Fountain. "It's all done except the last chapter. I want you to help me. Finish it..."
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2008
"Death is a disease. It's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure. And I will find it."

I think Darren Aronofsky is great. He brings a sense of art into each movie he makes, no matter how human, small, and individual his stories may be. The Fountain is different from his other projects, however, because it's almost wholly an art film. It largely leaves conventional storytelling behind and explores love, loss, and fear of mortality through reoccurring images, symbolism, alternating time-lines/realities, and some really fantastic visuals.

I have to say that I liked it. It's ambitious and it takes a while to get a handle on, but it captured my interest from the very beginning. There were moments when The Fountain brought to mind a Guillermo del Toro movie, times when it felt like pure Aronofsky, and then scenes that reminded me of nothing I've seen previously.

Hugh Jackman gives a commendable, fragmented performance as the three main characters in their three variations of the story. But it's Rachel Weisz who plays the only character in the film that we really get to know a part of, and she's the anchor of the overall story. I gained a healthy respect for both actors, while watching this.

On the whole, I found The Fountain to be a worthy experience. There's something lacking, though. I can't say what it is, exactly. The movie felt a little too loosely connected, as if the theme binding it together wasn't tied quite as tightly as it should have been.

I predict three different possible reactions to The Fountian. Person A will watch about 15 minutes of it, quickly realize it's not for them, and turn it off. Person B will appreciate what Aronofsky tried to do, but feel that The Fountain is ultimately a flawed effort. Person C will enjoy the movie and want to see it again several times, despite niggling concerns that it's not quite all it had the potential to be.

I'm Person C. I loved the cinematography and had a very positive reaction to all the metaphysics and existential themes (which isn't always the case, despite the fact that I was a philosophy major in college). It's not the typical Aronofsky film and it's not his best (The Wrestler) or his most complete (Black Swan), but it's definitely his most ambitious.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2010
I must've been in the minority, but I thought this was a true masterpiece. The epic nature of the love story is incredible and completely unique. The usage of space and time is like nothing anyone has ever tried to accomplish before. While it is mostly a sci-fi fairy tale, you never feel as though each segment doesn't have power in itself. Hugh Jackman gave truly his best performance and Rachel Weisz did a beautiful job as well. While this certainly isolates itself from most traditional hollywood narratives, I think once you break it down it really isn't difficult at all to understand or analyze.
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2010
The main plus-points of the movie were Hugh Jackman & a brilliant soundtrack by Clint Mansell . Although a hard one to digest, I ended up enjoying the movie quite well.
paul o.
paul o.

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2011
With one of the best roles for Hugh Jackman, The Fountain contains a plot that not only questions one's mind but also make the viewer wonder about the interpretation of certain scenes. Not one of the gruesome Aronofsky movies but worth the viewing if you have time.
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2010
Like his first full-length film "Pi", Darren Aronofsky's under-acknowledged masterpiece, "The Fountain", can be easily dismissed as pointless and pretentious after an initial viewing by the less patient. But a more seasoned cinema lover will at least certainly give it a second chance or more even if he/she ultimately does not end up thinking much of it.

It is difficult to put down a plot synopsis for this visually dazzling film in words without giving most of the story away. Aronofsky shows us three different stories, taking place centuries apart with two central characters played by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.

At least two of these stories are very closely related and deal with one man's obsessive quest for eternal love and victory over death.

So in one of the stories in the past, Jackman is a 16th century conquistador sent on a mission by the Spanish Queen Isabella (Weisz).

In the second, seemingly present day story, Jackman is Tom Creo, a research scientist trying desperately to save his wife from dying from a terminal illness. He is putting his heart and soul into finding a cure!

In a distant future (or is it the present?), Jackman is shown in a bubble-shaped spaceship traveling into space with a dying tree, attempting to reach the Xibalba nebula to seek immortality via rebirth!

Aronofsky combines these three stories dealing with themes of eternal love, immortality and rebirth, beautifully in a fashion which will enable viewers to draw parallels and try and make sense of this symbolism-heavy venture. He pulls it off by some clever editing and meticulously executed match-cuts. He also writes scenes with recurring motifs and scatters them across the 90 minute length of the film. There is also some dialog between the two leads that gives considerable clues to us baffled viewers.

Technically the film is brilliant in all areas, with some great visual effects, excellent cinematography and sharp editing. There is enough material in these 90 odd minutes to keep you glued to your seats, if you are up for such films and are not already pulling out your hair out of frustration by the end of the first hour. The original music by Clint Mansell is wonderfully apt to the narrative.

Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz turn in superb performances, and Ellen Burstyn who worked wonders in Aronofsky's earlier "Requiem for a Dream" surprises with a very different performance in her brief screen time.


"The Fountain" is a work of breath-taking originality by the talented Darren Aronofsky and deserves as much attention as his other cult classic "Requiem for a Dream". If nothing else, this film will certainly create a thought of wanting a repeat viewing in your mind. And once you've seen it again, you might be inclined to watch it again....if the initial viewing has not left you entirely disappointed, that is!
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