The Fountain

2006

The Fountain

Critics Consensus

The Fountain -- a movie about metaphysics, universal patterns, Biblical symbolism, and boundless love spread across one thousand years -- is visually rich but suffers from its own unfocused ambitions.

52%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 205

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 261,867
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Movie Info

Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky switches gears from drug-induced urban malaise to abstract science fiction with this time-tripping symbolic tale of a man's thousand-year quest to save the woman he loves. Moving between representational stories and images, this meditation on life and death focuses on the concept of the mythical Tree of Life that is said to bestow immortality to all who drink of its sap. In one of the film's allegorical timelines, a 16th century Spanish conquistador played by Hugh Jackman sets out to find the tree in order to save his queen (Rachel Weisz) from the Inquisition. Another conceptual story finds Jackman centuries later, struggling with mortality as a modern-day scientist desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. The third and most abstract concept finds Jackman as a different incarnation of the same character-idea, this time questing for eternal life within the confines of a floating sphere transporting the aged Tree of Life through the depths of space. Even more avant-garde than his breakthrough film Pi, The Fountain finds Aronofsky almost completely abandoning conventional story structure in favor of something more cinematically abstract. Though the film was originally slapped with an R by the MPAA, Aronofsky and co. re-edited it to conform to a PG-13 rating. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast

Hugh Jackman
as Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo
Rachel Weisz
as Isabel/Izzi Creo
Ellen Burstyn
as Dr. Lillian Guzetti
Mark Margolis
as Father Avila
Stephen McHattie
as Grand Inquisitor Silecio
Cliff Curtis
as Captain Ariel
Lorne Brass
as Dr. Alan Lipper
Anish Majumdar
as Dr. Spencer
Abraham Aronofsky
as Lab Technician
Fernando Hernandez
as Lord of Xibalba
Renee Asofsky
as Lab Technician
Janique Kearns
as Young Nurse
Boyd Banks
as Dominican Monk
Alexander Bisping
as Foot Soldier Del Toro
Kevin Kelsall
as Foot Soldier Rivera
Alexandre Bisping
as Foot Soldier Del Toro
Patrick Vandal
as Foot Soldier Galleano
Patricia Dal
as Foot Soldier Galleano
Marcello Bezina
as Foot Soldier Borjes
Jose Maria Tol Chan
as Mayan Warrior
Juan Salvador Lares
as Mayan Warrior
Guatemaya Chicua
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Tol Nix
as Mayan Warrior
Luis Alfredo Yac Noj
as Mayan Warrior
Mateo Martin Perez
as Mayan Warrior
Edson Vasquez Pixabaj
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Morales Sacquic
as Mayan Warrior
Santos Ajic Sapon
as Mayan Warrior
Xaijil Sicajan
as Mayan Warrior
Tomas Salvador Tol
as Mayan Warrior
Xitamul
as Mayan Warrior
Yolanda
as Donovan
Bianca Cody Murphy
as Lab Support Primate
Diget
as Lab Support Primate
Granny
as Lab Support Primate
View All

News & Interviews for The Fountain

Critic Reviews for The Fountain

All Critics (205) | Top Critics (53) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (98)

  • I will concede the film is not a great success. Too many screens of blinding lights. Too many transitions for their own sake. Abrupt changes of tone.

    Sep 14, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Ambitious? You bet, but also a towering, tumultuous folly. It's the movie equivalent of a prog-rock double album, short on humour, long on pomposity, and as for what it all means - you might well ask.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
    Independent (UK)
    Top Critic
  • If only all reputed turkeys gave us such a trip.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Full Review…
  • How can so much style, talent and money be squandered in the service of such blatant airheadedness?

    Jan 26, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There is a strange deadness in the film, together with a callow self-importance and self-pity which become more stultifying with every minute that passes.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • First, the good news: The Fountain is only 97 minutes long. Now the bad: that's 97 minutes of rampant metaphysical codswallop.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Fountain

  • Dec 15, 2013
    The king of esoteric films, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain is perhaps his most divisive work. It's a movie that is incredibly ambitious in its scope and narrative format, yet simple in its story. It's both enthralling and, occasionally, inaccessible. The film's style is grand, imaginative, and highly symbolic. Whether one likes it seems to be a product of if you buy its central theme, or at least if you understand it. The film tells the story of a man, played by Hugh Jackman, trying to save the woman he loves, played by Rachel Weisz. This sees him in three separate journeys, in apparently three separate incarnations. The stories are interwoven cleverly with match cuts and visual tricks, making the film very abstract in both content and execution. The central theme is that of mortality, and our quest to defy it. Symbolism is rife throughout, with many biblical references, adding to the film's abstract nature. The visual aspect of the film is its greatest specter, with Aronofsky avoiding CGI as much as possible, opting for creative uses of macro photography and other techniques, which serve to give the film a unique feel. It doesn't feel ornate for the sake of ornate, rather it looks truly surreal and meticulously conceived. It's this visual wonder that seeks to anchor the film through its more esoteric moments, and sustain its momentum. That the film is abstract is a given. Its approach is reminiscent in some respects of the more recent Tree of Life, though more accessible with its strong central story. Had it not been for this story, the film would have failed. Yet Aronofsky smartly recognized the need to keep the film anchored. The symbolism does perhaps get away from the story to some degree, especially toward the end, and the film does suffer from some disjointed moments and abrupt changes in tone. Yet, this is made up for by the rich and vibrant world building, in addition to the intelligent approach to the story, which doesn't opt for easy explanations, but rather puts faith in the audience. Overall, a very unique science fiction film. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2013
    In Pi and Black Swan, Aronofsky proved to be a brilliant filmmaker, worthy of being compared to Roman Polanski. This is what makes The Fountain such a frustrating and bleak disappointment. It was possibly the easiest film to become bored with that I have ever seen. It is melodramatic--with almost laughably bad dialogue--and a confusing and useless storyline. It is strange to think that this disaster of a film came from the same genius who brought us such masterpieces like Black Swan. But I suppose every director must have his bad film. This one should have never seen the light of day. Aronofsky should stick with films based on the human psyche. Fiction/fantasy is not a genre he should delve into again.
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2013
    The Fountain is an incredibly ambitious film that crams too much into its slim 90 minutes, but has just enough moments to keep it from being the disaster it could have been. The story isn't the most involving thing in the world and goes back and forth between three very distinct & different stories all tied together by the subject & characters it is portraying. The visuals are solid as is the acting, but the pacing could have used a little adjusting. It starts and ends very slow, even though the middle section was the most involved part for me as a whole and kept my attention. The Fountain has lofty ambitions and tackles many subjects all at once and doesn't quite do some of them as well as others. Some feel a little "tacked-on" and pretentious at times, but others are delivered pretty well. This film has started to take on a little bit of a cult classic status and I can see why. It will make you think hard and requires perhaps a little too much from the viewer after a first viewing, but subsequent viewings certainly seem like they would be more rewarding. I may not ever re-watch this film, but I have a feeling I would end up liking it more if I did. Aronofsky is an incredibly talented director and even though this isn't his best work to date, it's unique and definitely better than most of what Hollywood produces these days. I can't fully recommend it, but if the premise interests you than give it a watch. It might surprise you.
    Josh L Super Reviewer

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