Moulin Rouge

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Moulin Rouge Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Dazzling musical romance has innuendo, mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 33 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A courtesan seduces a man whom she thinks has plenty of money to invest in her show. In turn, that man treats her like property. A club owner sees nothing wrong in pimping out his star to get an investor for his shows. Characters drink absinthe and other alcoholic beverages, lie (for a good cause), fight, but in the end the movie's soft and gooey center is revealed through incessant discussions about the power of love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are entirely too campy, over the top, and unrealistic to be seen as positive role models. 

Violence

Zidler flashes a gun. A few fistfights.

Sex

Satine, who prances around in lingerie, fakes an orgasm while Christian recites poetry. She also kneels in front of a man she's trying to seduce, as if mimicking a sexual position. Some kissing and straddling between couples. Lots of innuendo and repartee; for example: Christian: "I'm just a little nervous. It's just that sometimes it takes a while, ugh." Satine: "Ohhhh." Christian: "For, you know, inspiration to come." Satine: "Oh yes, yes, yes. Let mommy help, hmm? Does that inspire you? Let's make love!" One of the characters puts his hands on another character's crotch. References to prostitution. 

Language

Sexual innuendo and entendre. A reference to a performer's "huge talent." One of the characters is referred to disparagingly as "the Jew." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bacchanalia at various parties includes smoking and drinking. Christian and his bohemian friends drink absinthe and subsequently have hallucinations. A writer works with empty bottles of booze on either side of his typewriter. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Moulin Rouge is the 2001 bombastic remake of the 1952 movie. Although the film, on paper, sounds a bit too mature for even teens (seduction and obfuscation are employed to raise money for a club), it's really quite a tender love story -- though there is plenty of sexual innuendo -- and a sweet message about the power of love. Characters frequently drink absinthe as well as various types of alcohol. There are references to prostitution. One of the characters is referred to in a disparaging manner as "the Jew." Overall, this is a hate-it-or-love-it movie: Where some see endless self-indulgence and ostentation, others see nonstop vivid entertainment of the kind guaranteed to make viewers temporarily forget the drab realities of day-to-day life. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byBathtubNelly October 11, 2020

Songs and discussions about sex

I LOVED Moulin Rouge when it came out so recently had my 12 and 15 year olds watch it with me. I think a lot of the joy from hearing familiar songs recreated w... Continue reading
Adult Written byRarityfan October 10, 2018

The fabulous Moulin Rouge

Lots of drama, romance, old timer Paris cityscapes and hit song medleys for the elder Francophiles. One of the movies you had to view on the big screen like I... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 23, 2011

my favorite musical next to cabaret

this is a beutiful movie that i really adore the main character satine is a prostitute though there is no sex shown you still see them afterwards this a great b... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymylibrarycardworeout August 10, 2011

Great Music - Hated the Cutting!

This was an OK movie. I liked the music the best. The acting was very good but it was a sharp movie. There was a lot of cutting of scenes from one thing to the... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in late-1800s Paris, MOULIN ROUGE begins in a garret, where a visibly heartbroken poet, Christian (Ewan McGregor), sits at his typewriter, pecking out what is essentially the film's premise: The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Rewind to the past, when Christian believed in love but had never been in love. Wide-eyed and full of hope, he's recruited by a group of bohemians led by the artist Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) to write a spectacular show for the Moulin Rouge. But first he must persuade Satine (Nicole Kidman), the Moulin Rouge's hot-blooded, cool-eyed courtesan, to agree. Eventually, they fall in love. But Satine's mission is to seduce a rich duke (Richard Roxburgh) so he can finance the Moulin Rouge. If he finds out she loves another, their entire enterprise is doomed. Worse, Satine is suffering from mysterious blackouts.

Is it any good?

MOULIN ROUGE is that kind of movie that divides viewers into two distinct camps: Those who love it and those who don't. It almost doesn't matter, however. Because no matter how moving or maddening it may be, depending on which side of the argument you're on, this refreshingly modern musical is memorable and fascinating.

In the hands of another director, the story would have probably marched on in a fairly typical fashion. But this is Baz Luhrmann territory, which means kinetic camerawork, quick cuts, color-saturated tableaus, and lots and lots of music. In places, it overwhelms the senses and seems overdone. But the chemistry between MacGregor and Kidman is unmistakable and their voices not half-bad. In the end, all this pageantry and ballad-belting enthusiasm pays off. Though it may not be everyone's cup of tea, Moulin Rouge is creative, daring, and original.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Satine enjoys her job as a courtesan (or if she actually does). Can anyone really be happy pursuing fame using one's physical charms? What attracts her to Christian and vice versa? Why is Hollywood enamored of opposites-attract themes? Are Satine and Christian truly destined for each other?

  • What were some of the ways in which the movie went beyond its 1899 setting, especially in terms of music? 

  • How does this movie exemplify the idea of "entertainment for entertainment's sake"? What are the many ways in which this movie seeks to provide escape from reality rather than an attempt to imitate or depict reality? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Themes & Topics

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