Book Review: Aronofsky Dose Two: The Fountain

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Sep 25, 2014
Left snivelling with displaced maternal angst by Black Swan, I was mildly uplifted next evening by The Fountain (2006). It's a beautiful, sometimes lyrical watercolour of a film, deep but slim and slight, dealing with love, loss and death/life.


Tom (Hugh Jackman) is a young neuroscientist. A breakthrough in the treatment of brain tumours seems suddenly, excitingly within reach. But then his wife Izzie (Rachel Weisz) is diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour.

She is writing a book in which Isabella of Spain sends a Conquistador on a mission to South America to find The Tree of Life with which to confound the Inquisition. (Hmm. Izzie's history may be a little shaky on this one. Isabella didn't like it, but she sanctioned it, and the auto da fe's nonetheless.)

Izzie realises she will not live to finish writing it, and asks Tom, her conquistador, to finish it, for her. He could not conquer her disease; what might he still be able to do, for Izzie, and himself?

It reminds me in some ways of Kubrick's 2001, as Tom travels in a bubble space ctaft containing The Tree of Life to a dying nebula, where reborth or reunion awaits.

Izzie's request to her husband to 'finish the book' and Tom's acceptance and realization that Science is not THE way to go upon being confronted with Death, but is only one tool in the case of deferrable death; the conquistador must accept this is not a War, it is not a question of victory or defeat.

The message is ultimately, comforting, for reasons not easy to capture or convey in a word bite. It's one of those things you apprehend at a wordless level. You just feel it.

Aronofsky wisely avoids offering 'solutions.' All is suggested.

Beautiful musical score.

If you don't like it, it's a short film, only 1 hr and 35 minutes.

View Trailer here:

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Do editors still edit?

Book Review: Books: Hilary Mantel: The Culture Show/Bring Up The Bodies