The Fountain



Epic sci-fi romance explores faith and love.
  • Review Date: May 14, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Thematic focus on human arrogance in science, religion, and war; characters argue, regret it, and vow improved behavior.


The movie opens with a dark jungle battle scene, initiating a repeated assault scene (bloody death by spear); painful self-tatooing; surgery on a monkey's brain (open skull shown); bloody wounds on a back; Inquistor tortures "heretics" (flagellation, hang victims by their feet); stain on a map suggests blood; a brain tumor causes seizure; upsetting death scene in hospital; emotional scenes with tree (cutting the tree, tree crashing to ground).


The film's primary sex scene occurs in bathtub (naked woman, clothed man, camera pulls out as they embrace passionately); the queen offers herself to Tomas ("I shall be your Eve").


One "f--k," plus mild other language ("s--t," "old fart").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this cryptic, complicated sci-fi epic probably won't be on most kids' must-see lists. The tricky plot unfolds simultaneously in the 16th, 21st, and 26th centuries and is sometimes slow to reveal itself, so younger viewers might get bored. There are some bloody killings (with spears, guns, and swords) and a brief sequence showing torture during the Spanish Inquisition. The science fiction scenes are sometimes abstract (a spaceship shaped like a sphere), while the present-day laboratory scenes show surgery on a monkey's brain. A bathtub sex scene is passionate and moving, though not explicit. Some strong language.

What's the story?

Elaborately plotted across time and space, THE FOUNTAIN follows the undying love between a man and woman over three different eras. In 2006, a scientist named Tommy Creo (Hugh Jackman) and his wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz), struggle with her brain cancer. Though Izzi, a historian and writer, has come to terms with her situation, Tommy works furiously to discover a cure. The film follows two other romances (also acted by Jackman and Weisz). 16th-century conquistador Tomas seeks the Fountain of Youth on a mission for Spain's Queen Isabel. In a Mayan temple, Tomas faces a soldier with a flaming sword, as well as his own doubts. (Meanwhile, Izzi tells Tommy about a "dying star" named Xibalba that represented rebirth for ancient Mayans). In the third story, 26th-century explorer Tom is drawn to a beatific specter who repeats the phrase "finish it" as a way of inviting him to join her in the faith of eternal love. And yet the film suggests that the very concept of "finishing" must give way to cycles and renewals, as indicated by repeated images of passageways and circles.

Is it any good?


Director Darren Aronofsky's movie is ambitious, even epic, in its scope. Digital effects depict Tommy and Izzi's relationship in terms that are both extremely intimate (they communicate even when they're not in the same space) and abstract (their interests in life and death and rebirth beyond their own experiences take them back and forward in time).

The Fountain's intricate themes integrate images and ideas from Judeo-Christian, Mayan, and Buddhist traditions, linking them in ways that seem "universal." That said, the film also offers up a gallant, compassionate, and heroic white male -- the variations on Tommy -- as its center. It even posits him as the "First Father," so named by the Mayan warrior. In seeking connections between belief and hope, the film overlooks differences within social hierarchies. Still, its aspirations -- to bring individuals and cultures together -- are admirable. The love story at its heart makes this much clear.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of eternal life. What would it be like to live forever? How do different religions offer different versions of eternal life, either "after death" or in some other form? Do you think that the similarities between different religious beliefs could ever help communities and individuals work together, rather than lead to competition and war? How does Tommy seek to redeem himself as he tries to save Izzie? What makes this film a science fiction movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 22, 2006
DVD release date:May 15, 2007
Cast:Ellen Burstyn, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
Director:Darren Aronofsky
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byfun April 9, 2008

Great Moview!!!

Must see! This is a great movie, very creative, a thinker. In the spriit of Somewhere in Time, Brasil and Lord of the Rings. Hugh Jackman has grown since his X-man roles, I loved him in this!
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008

Love conquers all

Although most people will undoubtedly not appreciate this movie, I personally loved it. The movie is an absolute work of art, in the sense of how it presents all the visuals. The message is a simple one that speaks of love triumphing over everything, even death; though some people might complain that it takes too long to speak such a simple message. I am not saying this is the best movie you will ever see or any sort like that-- it is a plain good movie. However, based on the fact that the artistic style used is incredible and also because so few movies today bother to send a good message, when one is sent at all, that is what compelled me to give the movie five stars. If those two things don't mean much to you, then you'll think it was a pretty good movie, or might be too confused by it and hate it. In terms of content, there was some sexual content and mild language including an f-bomb, but the violence is the highest concern. It's a very straight-up PG-13 content wise really. It's the art that makes it anything but main-stream.
Teen, 16 years old Written byyost820 April 9, 2008

Good, philisophical movie

The movie was very good, although occasionally poorly acted and the direction was a bit sloppy. The only reason I would consider thinking about taking a kid to the movie is that it is a deep thinking movie, and many kids will not comprehend the movie, thus becoming frustrated with it.


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