“Moulin Rouge” is a Love Letter to Style and Song

by Mario Muscar

I have previously written about movies showing at Towngate. I would classify myself as a movie lover. And I was incredibly excited when I heard that Towngate was showing the musical Moulin Rouge on its big screen.

Moulin Rouge is one of those movies that hit me at the right time in my life. When it was released, I was fresh out of college and hanging out with my friends, with little care in the world. And along came this film which summed up what was most important to me in my life at the time: art, music, celebration, beauty and love.

Moulin Rouge spoke to me.

The plot is simple. Taking place in Paris at the turn of the 20th Century, we are shown the tale of a young Englishman writer who falls into the bohemian lifestyle and falls in love with a singer at the burlesque night club, the Moulin Rouge. However, she has been promised by the manager to a Duke in return for funding his next production. As the young lovers meet in secret, Satine’s wedding day draws closer but she hides a fatal secret from both Christian and the Duke. The characters in the film are romantics who focus their lives on glitz, glamour, art and love.

A Feverish, Stylized Story Leaves You Breathless

Directed by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge tells a feverish, stylized story. This is the typical style of Luhrmann as can be seen in his updated take on Williams Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or his ballroom dancing romantic comedy, Strictly Ballroom. He has such a strong, vibrant style.

The movie is like a fever dream and jumps from moment to moment. The color alone is a brash and in-your-face Technicolor dream, with red (or rouge), of course, being the primary color. A color or love, but also of blood (and therefore death). Luhrmann definitely has the eye of an artist and the color of the film shows this.

The sheer energy of Moulin Rouge can at times be exhausting…but in that “I danced all night and had the time of my life” kind of exhaustion. Every moment in the movie is that moment of anticipation and excitement before the big musical number hits. The constant build-up can leave you breathless. And it’s that excitement and energy that always brings me back to this movie.

Well-Known Songs We All Love

The music in the film is also amazing and owes a lot to the post-MTV world in which the film was created. Moulin Rouge already has an anachronistic quality to it and the music hammers that feeling home even more. All throughout, the actors perform contemporary, well-known songs that we all know and love (“Like a Virgin,” “Your Song,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lady Marmalade” to name a few.)

I highly recommend you get out and see this film on the big screen this weekend, especially with the added bonus of seeing it in a classic theatre like Towngate. I think the dancers at the Moulin Rouge would approve of that choice. And maybe take away a little love when you see it. As the film says, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Moulin Rouge at Towngate

You can see Moulin Rouge at Towngate at 7pm Friday, January 25; 4 and 7pm Saturday, January 26 and 2 and 4pm Sunday, January 27.

Tickets are $7. Purchase tickets at the door. Box office opens one hour prior to each screening. You can purchase beer, wine, soda, water, popcorn and candy at all Towngate movies.

Towngate: A Unique Movie Theater in Wheeling.

A church-turned-theater, Towngate is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market District.

At Towngate, not only can you watch live theater productions, spoken word performances, improv and concerts, you can see movies, too! Towngate is also a single screen cinema. On select weekends throughout the year, we show classic and independent films, thought-provoking documentaries and film shorts by local and regional filmmakers. Our movie selections encourage thought and conversation.

Whether you consider yourself a film buff or you only like movies for the popcorn, our films will entertain and inspire. See you at Towngate!