The Fountain

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Fountain Movie Poster Image
Epic sci-fi romance explores faith and love.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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").

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 June 28, 2015

A pretentious mess

What to say about this film, except I didn't understand it. I'm all for ambiguous sci-fi ("2001" is great!) but there was no one I could rel... Continue reading
Adult Written bycortright5 April 9, 2008

Boring Boring Boring

If you want to see a movie with heavy metaphysical tones and lot of spiritual mumbo jumbo this is for you... Its messy and tries to say a lot via imagery but j... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCommonSenseDaniel August 7, 2017

This provocative, overwhelmingly human sci-fi is an absolute masterpiece.

The best advice I can give to anyone planning to watch Darren Aronofsky's 'The Fountain' is to avoid the trailer like the plague. It notoriously... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWild flower January 18, 2013

Not worth watching

I would not waste your time on this movie. There is no meaning to the movie, and it is so wishy-washy that it will confuses the audience, and is very boring.... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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