By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Fifteen years before Damien Chazelle made La La Land (2016), Baz Luhrmann made a movie musical that essentially reinvented the genre. Using a beautiful love story, gorgeous production values, and a mixture of both classical and contemporary music, Luhrmann made a beloved film that was the final installment of his Red Curtain Triology. Moulin Rouge! is arguably the first major 21st century musical because it received awards and acclaim while also reminding audiences about the power of love.
Francophiles can rejoice when watching this film because it contains the splendor of turn-of-the-century France. The film is obviously beautiful, and even won Oscars for its art direction and costume design. Nicole Kidman delivers one of her most popular performances as Satine, the courtesan who falls in love with a penniless writer, played by Ewan McGregor. This role allowed Kidman to receive both a Golden Globe award as well as an Oscar nomination. Moulin Rouge! also contains very clever references to both classical and modern elements as it told a timeless story. Specifically, the basic plot is very similar to Camille by Alexander Dumas, and the film features a variety of songs ranging from “The Sound of Music” to Elton John’s “Your Song.” On the most basic level, though, this movie is a love story, and its simplicity meant that audiences could easily relate to it.
Moulin Rouge! changed the way that movie musicals could be made. Without this film, other musicals like Chicago and Mamma Mia! might have never come to fruition. The Bohemians within the film advocated truth, freedom, beauty, and above all things, love, and many audiences still have a love affair with this musical gem. The love story between Satine and Christian will never fade away as long as viewers express their admiration for a film that redefined the Hollywood musical.
Moulin Rouge! (2001) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever there are sparkles (such as the ones in the costumes and the night sky)
Take a Drink: during every pop culture reference (like Marilyn Monroe and Madonna)
Drink a Shot: whenever the characters use the word “love” and its different variations (such as “lovers” and “loving”)… which means that you will need 143 shots! (don’t actually do this)