Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 391 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 36
  2. Negative: 7 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    As it happens, each one of these tales is also a love story, and The Fountain is Aronofsky’s profession of faith concerning love’s place in the idea of eternity. It’s a movie that’s as deeply felt as it is imagined.
  2. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    At heart, this is a simple Zen fable about love and death. In execution, it’s a complex and gorgeous mini-epic with sterling performances from its two stars.
  3. 63
    In telling a tale of love across time, Aronofsky is sometimes guilty of creating arty, pretentious psychobabble. But in visual terms, he's trying to expose his own raw, romantic heart. Folly? Maybe. But a risk worth taking.
  4. 50
    The problem, though, is that its techniques run too far beyond its ideas, which are blurry and banal, rather than mysterious and resonant. The Fountain is something to see, but it is also much less, finally, than meets the eye.
  5. 50
    Like all of his previous films, it's visually arresting - if any recent film embodies the concept of cinema as poetry, this it it - but unlike "Pi" or "Requiem for a Dream," these aren't characters we're ever invested in.
  6. 40
    Solemn, flashy, and flabbergasting, The Fountain--adapted by Darren Aronofsky from his own graphic novel--should really be called The Shpritz. The premise is lachrymose, the sets are clammy, and the metaphysics all wet.
  7. Aronofsky's reach far exceeds his grasp with this film, and the muddle he concocts makes one wonder if there was ever a solid foundation for The Fountain. Hope may spring eternal, but this fountain is a dry hole.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 177
  1. Aug 23, 2010
    Living forever would be hell. Eternity claws at the heart of Aronofsky's temporally transcendent hero, Thomas. Hugh Jackman plays Thomas, but the character embodies director/writer Aronofsky's complex and insightful interpretation of what immortality means. Beyond humanity conquering time, this film tackles how ideas, and even feelings, can be inherently timeless. The Fountain courageously examines what keeps us here and why we eventually need to go.

    Aronofsky's ability as a director has been hailed with both Pi and Requiem for a Dream. The Fountain is unlike anything he has done before. He provokes audiences intellectually, spiritually and viscerally, but this time, with extra concern for plot and character dynamics. Like Fellini, putting his wife in his films compels a richer and more passionate creation. Weisz proves more enchanting in this sci-fi spirit quest than any other film to date. Instead of isolation and dependence, Aronofsky focuses on interconnectivity. A responsibility to his wife, new born, and devoted fans gives birth to a film that aspires to be something timeless itself. Aronofsky, more than anything, demonstrates how much he expects of himself.

    Moving within the millennia spanning the films narrative are the souls of Thomas and Izzi. They are tied to each other and the tree of life. Uniquely positioned as the tie that binds them to the tree is love. In every period, Thomas scrambles to save Izzi in some way. Thomas exasperatingly challenges the life threatening circumstances Izzi faces. Battling Mayan warlords, cancerous tumors or traveling to Xibalba(The Place of Fear) are dwarfed by the life purpose Izzi instills in him. The limitations of love and devotion are reluctantly acknowledged, as Thomas becomes a slave to hope and memory.

    The very essence of existence comes into play as fantasy is given as much legitimacy in the film as reality. The scenes from the Mayan period are melded together with the fiction Izzi is writing in present day. The line between truth and fiction disintegrates as the three stories continually intertwine. The motives of the characters are similar in each, but it takes the fantasy to provoke their destinies. Thomas's ultimate fate and acceptance of reality can only happen in surreal settings where anything is possible.

    The Fountain delves into the ineffable headfirst. Infinite possibility lies at the heart of life and death. One answer is as valid or invalid as the next without a map key. The closest we come to understanding it all is when determining what it isn't. Aronofsky posits the question as the answer stylishly, uniquely and profoundly.
  2. NaniFaye
    Aug 18, 2007
    This movie involves some of my most favorite themes and interests - the tree of life, the Mayans, scientists, new medicines discovered from plants in the rainforest, books, the acceptance of death, the fight against death, hope, peace, and space travel. One of the primary dynamics in the movie is the contrast between the man who is spending all his time and energy trying to find a way to keep the woman alive. One wonders if perhaps his time was better spent by spending time with her, listening to her, loving her, and just being with her in her final days. To me that is the crux of the movie, and I felt it deeply - her acceptance of death, and his fight against it (and essentially against her in a way). I have not stopped thinking about this movie since I watched it, and I absolutely love it. For me, and I understand for many others, it is the epitome of beauty and depth. And yes, in the end some things didn't add up, and the "lotus position" was hokey for sure - meditation does not involve any physical posture, it is an inner state of being (but how to show that visually? Then again, the first time I watched the movie, I thought the space bubble was in fact the man's inner state of being, portrayed visually, and was a not a "real" place but a representation of what was in his head...who knows...). But the heart was there and the intentions were good, even if the portrayal of the themes was not perfect - but who has done this and these themes before any better? I must say also though that my own life experiences and background and interests had a profound effect on the way I received this movie. So many of the visuals, the themes, and the ideas are so embedded in me that if the movie were based on some other visuals and themes, I might not have really liked it at all. (Botany, Medicine, Anthropology, Space Travel, Meditation, and the death of a Beloved). Expand
  3. Oct 19, 2010
    Rarely are a script, a screenplay and a score perfectly intertwined to produce a true cinematic masterpiece. The Fountain comes very close. A dark and surreal journey of unlimited hope in tragic circumstances. Genius. Expand
  4. DrewK.
    Nov 26, 2006
    Incredible. Both Hugh Jackman and Darren Aronofsky deserve Oscars, to say the least.
  5. Sep 25, 2014
    Sometimes being intelligent is a problem, which Aronovsky found out when he released The Fountain. Because roughly half of all human beings are completely incapable of noticing allegory, or any other complex language activities for that matter, the movie was criticized up one side and down the other by an army of nincompoops. But they can be safely ignored as usual.

    The Fountain is presented as three separate alternating stories, with Hugh Jackman leading all three of them, and Rachel Weiss with him in two of them. The first is presumably in the present, where Jackman is a biologist who is trying to save his dying wife by experimenting on monkeys. The second is set in the 1500s, with Jackman as a conquistador looking for immortality on behalf of the Spanish queen, and this is actually the book Rachel Weiss`character is writing, a detail many people seem to have missed. And the third is a sort of astral allegory of life and death, and one of the weirdest damn things I`ve seen in a while. But really, all three are the same story, dealing with the same topic from three different angles. The second aspect of this triple allegory is that it is not just multiple angles on the subject of life and death but also represents different levels of reality. Because Weiss` fiction (The conquistador part.) is obviously less real than the present day narrative, the implication is that the astral part of the movie is more real than it. Or in other words that spiritual and conceptual reality is superior to physical reality, which again is superior to fiction. Read some Plato and then watch The Fountain again and you`ll understand this part of it.
    The result is a tad confusing at first, like time distortions and multiple levels of reality tend to be in movies. But a second viewing cleared most of it up for me.

    The movie is otherwise wonderfully cast and directed, visually distinct and has some of the best music I`ve heard in any move. For much of the movie I was convinced that it had to have been made by Current 93 or perhaps Michael Cashmore, but as it turns out the man responsible is Clint Mansell, one time singer in pop Will Eat Itself and collaborator with Trent Reznor. All the complaining about this movie does for me is make me lose faith in humanity, or at least the intelligence of large portions of it. God forbid anyone should try and tackle a difficult subject in a movie, or to be so rude as to do it in a challenging way! Now where`s my twelfth Transformers movie in five years????
  6. MatthewF.
    Jun 17, 2007
    While it seems like a rather illogical, incoherent, and too smart to grasp film, Darren Aronofsky
  7. MarkM
    Nov 23, 2006
    The 10

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