The Fountain (2006)

The Fountain (2006)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

What to Expect: Mature meditations on love, mild sexuality, mild violence, and mild language

Summary: Spanning over one thousand years, The Fountain tells the story of three men (all played by Hugh Jackman), fighting to preserve the women they love (all played by Rachel Weisz): a Spanish conquistador trying to free his captive queen; a doctor trying to cure his ill wife; an interstellar traveler heading towards a dying star.

Review: Darren Aronofsky has made a career of making films about obsession (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), but The Fountain is arguably his most intimate film and the one in which we’re most likely to look past the obsession because it’s something of which we’re all capable.

At first glance it would seem that you’re in store for a melancholy affair – after all, within the first 20 minutes the loving and devoted couple of Tommy and Izzi Creo are rocked by the diagnosis of Izzi’s cancer.  But as the film progresses it becomes clear that the news has hit Tommy by far the hardest as Izzi is at peace with her ultimate fate.  The scattered jumps back and forth through chronologies will foster their own discussion – are they actual realities?  Are they metaphors for something else?  Are they all part of the same timeline? – but the most intriguing aspect from the perspective of a couple is the source and focus of Tommy’s obsession: love.

The Fountain is, if nothing else, a portrait of a man obsessed with love.  While it may not seem immediately negative for someone to be obsessed with love, one must remember that love at its purest entails total sacrifice, the complete conceding of one’s desires for another’s needs.  Tommy is so obsessed with his wife’s well being that he rejects Izzi’s desire to die in peace because he wants her to live.  It’s a love that is so self-centered that it appears selfless and it’s a very real danger for anyone who hasn’t considered all that sacrifice implies.

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