The film directed by Baz Luhrmann
Nicole Kidman ... Satine
Ewan McGregor ... Christian
John Leguizamo ... Toulouse-Lautrec
Jim Broadbent ... Zidler
Richard Roxburgh ... English Duke
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Article added on October 31, 2001
Don't expect a substantial, refined story. Moulin Rouge
is above all a two-hour visual and acoustic experience.
Nicole Kidman's singing is remarkable and Ewan McGregor's distinctive voice is
The fact that they are no professional singers gives their performances a human
touch and makes them even greater. Ewan McGregor is a better singer than actor.
Nicole Kidman, although no conventional beauty, is more attractive, more seducing than almost all other
women you can see on screen and, above all, she is a tremendous and versatile actress,
credible in any
When Baz Luhrmann and casting director Ronna Kress saw Nicole Kidman in the
Broadway production of The Blue Room, they knew they had found Satine.
Nicole Kidman has the stage presence which makes the difference between an
ordinary actress and an outstanding one.
Director Baz Luhrmann has created an artificial theatre like Paris. Moulin
Rouge is a mix of elements of 19th century European operetta (La
Bohème), classical Hollywood musicals, today's video clip aesthetics and
pop music. The result is not very profound, but refreshingly original,
emotional and entertaining. People (like me) who thought that the musical is a
boring, even embarrassing art form of the past will have to rethink their
The story of Moulin Rouge takes place in Paris in 1900. It is the time of the
cancan, absinth consumption and love for sale. The
courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) is the star of the famous cabaret Moulin
Rouge where she bedazzles rich customers to whom she sells her body after the
show. The young
and naive writer Christian (Ewan McGregor) comes to the French capital where
he falls under the spell of the atmosphere of Pigalle, the Paris entertainment
The fancy world of the Moulin Rouge is not without problems. Although the
place is packed with people, the impresario Zidler (Jim Broadbent) faces
financial difficulties after he spent all his resources for the famous new
invention of electric light. He desperately needs a financier of his new show
with Satine in the leading female role, to be created by a wild group of
people around the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo).
A rich English Duke (Richard Roxburgh) is ready to help financially, but only
if he gets exclusive access to Satine. The courtesan is ready for this because
she has always wanted to become a famous actress like her idol Sarah Bernhardt.
The bohemians around Toulouse-Lautrec rehearse their play in a loft above
Christian's flat which is opposite the Moulin Rouge. As the narcoleptic actor,
the "Unconscious Argentinean" (Jacek Koman), falls not only
instantly asleep but also through the ceiling into Christian's room, the young
poet is invited by the bohemians to become part of their creative process. His
ideas convince Toulouse-Lautrec to the point where he presents him to Satine.
The courtesan mistakes the poet for the rich English Duke and tries to seduce
Christian. As she realizes her error, it is already too late: the poet and the
courtesan have fallen in love with each other. The highlight of the film comes
with Ewan McGregor singing Your Song. Then, the Duke shows up. Satine
bedazzles him but makes clear that she will only be his after the premiere of
the play. As the Duke discovers Christian in Satine's room, Toulouse-Lautrec
and the other bohemians, who have watched the entire scene from the window,
show up and pretend convincingly that they all were rehearsing a scene from
the new spectacle. The Duke is impressed and agrees to finance the show.
What will prevail in the end: love or money? Okay, the story is slim and not
very original. What counts is Baz Luhrmann firework of images and music. After
the dance in Strictly Ballroom and the poetry in Shakespeare's Romeo
and Juliet, the director has created a stylized and opulent drama which
carries you away through its cleverly used pop songs to tell
the love story.
Remarkable on the Soundtrack of Moulin Rouge are not stars like David Bowie,
Christina Aguilera or Bono, but the performances by the actors Nicole Kidman
and Ewan McGregor: Above all Your Song by Ewan McGregor and Alessandro
Safina, but also One Day I'll Fly Away by Nicole Kidman, the duets of
the two actors in Come What May and in the Elephant Love Medley
(performed with the additional vocal help of Jamie Allen).
Nicole Kidman - selected filmography
The Others, 2001. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Moulin Rouge, 2001. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Eyes Wide Shut, 1999. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Practical Magic, 1998. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
The Peacemaker, 1997. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
The Portrait of a Lady, 1996. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com.
To Die For, 1995. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Batman Forever, 1995. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Malice, 1993. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com.
Far and Away, 1992. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Days of Thunder, 1990. Get it on DVD from Amazon.co.uk.
Dead Calm, 1988. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com,
Get Moulin Rouge
on DVD from
Moulin Rouge Soundtrack. Get
the CD from Amazon.de,
Another film directed by Baz Luhrmann: William Shakespeare's Romeo and
Juliet. With Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com.
More films with Nicole Kidman: Eyes
Wide Shut, The
Hours; the biography of Nicole