Movie of the Day – The Fountain

I think that this pick stemmed from my recent screening of The Tree of Life.  I enjoy when a movie leaves me with this feeling of being incomplete in life.  Leaving me to fill in the blanks and understand what I saw on a personal level.  Deeper themes of life, love and what makes us human are daunting ideas to contemplate.  For most movie goers, we really don’t want to have to think so deeply about a movie.  We looked to be entertained and typically want endings, themes and closure delivered to us in a neat little package. It’s interesting to find a movie like The Fountain which looks to tell a grand, operatic story about love, death and the human endeavor to understand their meaning.  In some ways, watching The Tree of Life made me think a lot about this movie and the way that it handles a subject matter that we don’t often want to think about in movies.  Having such “touchy” subject matter interpreted for us by someone can be polarizing, since we all experience or think about themes differently.  But giving us something to talk  about and internalize is really what movies are all about.  They have to be moving and engaging in order for us to feel something, anything about watching a movie.

So more or less, this is a long winded opening to my choice for Movie of the Day.  The Fountain is a sweeping romantic drama that has a lot more depth and meaning that a typical love story.  This movie shows the lengths of the human spirit and what we will do for love and death.  But now I want to dive into why this is my choice for today.

The story of The Fountain is about three different stories spanning multiple centuries.  Each story line is presented in a non-linear fashion, each woven into one another with matching cuts and underlying, tying themes.  The first story is about Tomas the conquistador, who is commissioned by the Queen of Spain to seek out the tree of life, in hopes that its power will help end a feud with a cleric in Spain.  The Queen promises that if the quest is successful, she will wed Tomas and they will live forever together.  The second story is set during modern times with Tommy the neuroscientist.  He is on a search to cure a degenerative brain disease, which his life Izzi is suffering from.  As her health takes  turn, she begins to contemplate her existence and life.  Tommy struggles to find a way to cure her and bring her back to him.  The third story is about Tom the space traveler, who is on a journey to Xibalba where he hopes to bring back his love.  While on the journey, he carries on a conversation with Izzi from the second story line and we led to believe that she is the one who he wants to bring back.

All three story lines deal with the underlying theme of death and the length that we will go to find a way and overcome it.  Within each of the story lines, you have the male lead looking for something that will help his wife or the woman he loves.  Each quest has a different meaning, with the conquistador looking for the tree of life in hopes to bring him and the queen together.  The neuroscientist is looking for a cure that will help him save his wife, thus keeping her from death.  The space traveler is on a journey to bring back the one he loves from death.  Each story brings to light a different aspect of life and what we will eventually have to face in our life, but death is the final outcome in everyone of the stories.  It is the inevitable final act of our life, and how we learn to cope with the realization is what the aim of the movie is about.

The meaning of life and death is, to me anyways, the acceptance of the inevitable.  Through all three journeys, death was the only outcome that could come of their actions.  The woman in each story that the male lead tries to fight for is one who comes to accept their fate and embraces the fear of death.  The movie was extremely effective in evoking this deep emotion from me.  Death is often something that we think about, whether it is from someone we know who passes on or our own mortality and what lies ahead for us.  Using the story and emotional arc of love and what we try to grasp on to, brings together all of our apprehensions that we have with the notion of death.

While I could go on about the themes of life and death, I want to touch on the movie itself, mainly with the effect that it had on me while watching it.  To say nothing of the visuals and musical collaboration of Mansell and Aronofsky would be a crime.  The visuals and cinematography is breathtaking as Aronofsky used macro photography to capture the visual effects and bring an organic feel to the visuals.  The visual effects were practical and stunning, especially in the third story line where we see the space traveler on his way to the dying nebula of Xibalba.  When you couple the visuals and expansive story lines with Mansells moving orchestral arrangement, you get with this sweeping emotional musical movement.  The score breathes life into the scenes, reaching deep down to pull emotional responses from life to death.  The score is this amalgamation of orchestral and electronic elements which ties all the themes and story lines together.

To finish the post, the final scene and closing credits left me with this feeling of emptiness.  I couldn’t explain what I saw or felt as I just sat there in my chair.  I soaked in the closing song from Mansell entitled “Together We Will Live Forever”.  The song encapsulated the entire film, bringing your emotional high down to a personal level.  It made me think about what death and the inevitable outcome of my life will be like.  I felt scared but ultimately calm.  Not many movies can do that to me.  But I have felt like this every time I have watched The Fountain and I am comfortable with that.  It is a beautiful and moving film, one that must be seen.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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