Moulin Rouge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Moulin Rouge Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2018
- Watching the film, you get an appreciation for Henri Toulouse-Latrec, the man behind the art. He was of noble birth, but only grew to 4'8", with an adult-sized torso but child-sized legs, because of a childhood accident in combination with a genetic disorder (which was in turn due to his parents being first cousins). In a decision which estranged him from his father, he went to Paris to become a painter, and while he had a circle of acquaintances from frequenting the Moulin Rouge, was desperately lonely, and an alcoholic. Director John Huston does a great job in flashing back to tell the back story.

- The film is a nice homage to his art as well. We see him creating sketches, paintings, and prints in various settings which give quite a taste of his style, and along the way Huston flashes through two sets of images of Toulouse-Latrec's actual artwork, sequences I enjoyed.

- José Ferrer turns in a fine performance as Toulouse-Latrec, impressive both physically (since he was 5'10") and also in his artistic intensity, which spilled over into the inevitable emotions coming from being ridiculed, mocked, or pitied as a 'freak'.

- While a wee bit cloying, I thought the ending was a very nice touch, with the dying Toulouse-Latrec visited by ghostly versions of his bohemian friends from the Moulin Rouge, who say good-bye to him. It seems to fit with the 'world gone by' reminiscence of the Montmartre circa 1890, and offsets the artist's sad death.

- Historical accuracy. The artist's life is sanitized and watered down here. In the film, Toulouse-Latrec takes up with a prostitute and has a stormy relationship with her, but always maintains noble feelings and a sense of class. The real Toulouse-Latrec led a much more dissolute lifestyle, spending days at a time in expensive brothels. He had a protracted case of syphilis, which, along with complications from alcoholism, killed him at 37, and the STD is not even alluded to here. Have a look at the used-up, wasted, and dejected look of the women in his work "The Sofa" (1894-96); there is real pathos and a sense of squalor in art such as that, but we don't see that sort of thing in the film.

- Similarly, the environment of the Moulin Rouge dance hall, as well as the musical numbers performed there, feel 'rated PG', and a far cry from the outrageous, wild, and dangerous place we not only read about, but see in Toulouse-Latrec's work. Huston spent a lot of time on colors and filters and the like, but seems to have missed (or not been able to show because of the production code) the real nature of the place.

- Zsa Zsa Gabor is awful as a showgirl. She lip synchs a couple of songs and is obviously off more than once. In fact, with the exception of Colette Marchand, none of the other actors comes close to matching Ferrer's performance, and oddly, few attempt a French accent as he does.

Bottom line:
Many Hollywood depictions (and other historical accounts) are romanticized, so it's not shocking to see that here, especially as the movie is from 1952. I like the attempt to honor the man and his art, but it's particularly unfortunate to romanticize someone like him, and the Moulin Rouge. Worth seeing, but with a grain of salt.
½ October 14, 2017
Interesting study of loneliness and how low self-worth affects worldview. Good, not amazing. Definitely 10x better than Baz Luhrman's botched version.
March 18, 2017
decent biopic of toulouse letrec and his paintings his loves and association with the world famous nightclub
February 3, 2017
This is QUITE different from the Luhrmann picture. Trades in the bombast and color for a depressing character study that moves slower than molasses. Like a lesser-Masterpiece Theatre outing, it's fairly corny and melodramatic; imagine "Amadeus" without the engaging performances, narrative depth and unique style. Some decent one-liners and a randomly odd ending can't brighten this bland oil painting.
½ April 15, 2016
Moulin Rouge is an incredible film. It is about the fictional account of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Jose Ferrer and Collette Marchand give amazing performances. John Huston did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and music. Moulin Rouge is a must see.
March 8, 2016
1952. How well I remember it! "Moulin Rouge" was the talk of my suburban town of Atherton, California, and the beautiful theme song was heard everywhere and became the top song of the year. Just hearing in brings back that golden time, but the movie, seen in 2016, does not seem all that inspired. The splotchy color and muddy photography are surely meant to emulate the work of the legendary painter, but they seem cheap and flashy surrounding the dull, predictable tale. Jose Ferrer was the ":serious" actor of the era, doing period and classic plays on film, He had won the Academy Award the year before for Cyrano, and here he was just doing his thing, overly made up and posturing. At one point, the artist compares himself to an ape, but Jose makes him a rather foolish and fussy ape, smartly dressed with too much black dye in his false beard. Zsa Zsa Gabor makes her appearance and is charming playing what turns out to be herself, as she will later demonstrate. The movie itself seems to be based n Latrec's famous posters, which is an odd if original way to structure a film. Interesting but hardly gripping.
March 8, 2016
A great cinematic classic. Not what you'd expect and far better.
April 22, 2015
50 years before the title would be forever synonymous with jukebox musicals and elephant trunks, Moulin Rouge was a Hollywood biopic, just as extravagant and only half as ridiculous. It recounted the tragic life of artist Toulouse-Lautrec. His luck, his women and his art. It colorfully brings his magnificent paintings to life in many of the joyous dance sequences, especially the one at the beginning of the picture. Sadly, It wasn't as equally riveting as a story. If you've seen many biopics over the years, prepare to be bored. It's as formulaic as it gets. One of John Huston's forgotten pictures, understandably.
September 2, 2014
Boring biopic that is almost unwatchable
April 8, 2014
This movie is like easing into a really hot bath. It is 100% over the top with Rocky Horror Picture Show type camp. If you like musicals and you have a taste for the purposeful exaggeration that camp brings then you've got it here. The beginning is insane but once you get past all of that the plot unfolds, it slows down, and it becomes engrossingly fascinating.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2014
Ferrer has irritated me in other roles but he does well here in the original version of Moulin Rouge. It wasn't a Luhrmann triumphant production with visuals and music coming at you from ever which way but it is entertaining to whatch Toulouse Lautrec being seduced by Montmarte.
December 11, 2013
bio-pic bears no resemblence to the 2001 pic with same title
½ July 14, 2013
Liked this one more than I thought I would (I am a sucker for technicolor). John Huston directs the story well, and Jose Ferrer is wonderful in it. It is nice to see a young Zsa Zsa Gabor.
½ May 26, 2013
This movie is so good i love this movie omg its so sad at the end
February 19, 2013
One of my all time favorites. Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman make this movie work. Fantastic music and dance numbers!!!
January 2, 2013
I dunno why, but I think this movie's awesome.
January 1, 2013
Beautifully shot and very moving. A very strong performance by Josà (C) Ferrer.
December 7, 2012
This was interesting! poor short guy tho!
December 2, 2012
"Moulin Rouge" tells the story of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a crippled man who only wanted to find love. Jose Ferrer's performance is stunning as the atmosphere of 1890's Paris comes to life. The special effects artists did a great job of turning this man of average stature into a convincing 4'6" character whose legs never properly grew. It was enjoyable to see Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jane Avril but for the most part, the film tends to drag on. All of the scenes in the Moulin Rouge are magic if you have ever had the opportunity to go for real and it is cool to see Lautrec's paintings come to life, but I'd much rather watch the modern musical with the same name if I am looking to be entertained.
November 30, 2012
Ewan's voice in this movie is just awesome! I absolutely love this movie.
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