The Fountain (2006)



Critic 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.

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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 played by Hugh Jackman sets out to find the tree in order to save his queen (Rachel Weisz) from the Inquisition. Another conceptual story finds Jackman centuries later, struggling with mortality as a modern-day scientist desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. The third and most abstract concept finds Jackman as a different incarnation of the same character-idea, this time questing for eternal life within the confines of a floating sphere transporting the aged Tree of Life through the depths of space. Even more avant-garde than his breakthrough film Pi, The Fountain finds Aronofsky almost completely abandoning conventional story structure in favor of something more cinematically abstract. Though the film was originally slapped with an R by the MPAA, Aronofsky and co. re-edited it to conform to a PG-13 rating. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
PG-13 (for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Written By:
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Hugh Jackman
as Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo
Rachel Weisz
as Isabel/Izzi Creo
Ellen Burstyn
as Dr. Lillian Guzetti
Mark Margolis
as Father Avila
Stephen McHattie
as Grand Inquisitor Silecio
Cliff Curtis
as Captain Ariel
Lorne Brass
as Dr. Alan Lipper
Anish Majumdar
as Dr. Spencer
Abraham Aronofsky
as Lab Technician
Fernando Hernandez
as Lord of Xibalba
Renee Asofsky
as Lab Technician
Janique Kearns
as Young Nurse
Boyd Banks
as Dominican Monk
Alexander Bisping
as Foot Soldier Del Toro
Kevin Kelsall
as Foot Soldier Rivera
Alexandre Bisping
as Foot Soldier Del Toro
Patrick Vandal
as Foot Soldier Galleano
Patricia Dal
as Foot Soldier Galleano
Marcello Bezina
as Foot Soldier Borjes
Jose Maria Tol Chan
as Mayan Warrior
Benjamin Panjoj Cortez
as Mayan Warrior
Juan Salvador Lares
as Mayan Warrior
Guatemaya Chicua
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Tol Nix
as Mayan Warrior
Luis Alfredo Yac Noj
as Mayan Warrior
Mateo Martin Perez
as Mayan Warrior
Edson Vasquez Pixabaj
as Mayan Warrior
Marvin Leonardo Raxtun
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Morales Sacquic
as Mayan Warrior
Santos Ajic Sapon
as Mayan Warrior
Xaijil Sicajan
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Salvador Tol
as Mayan Warrior
as Mayan Warrior
as Donovan
Bianca Cody Murphy
as Lab Support Primate
as Lab Support Primate
as Lab Support Primate
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News & Interviews for The Fountain

Critic Reviews for The Fountain

All Critics (196) | Top Critics (50)

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 24, 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.

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.

November 27, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

This is one of the worst movies of the year.

November 27, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Fountain

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
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
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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