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Moulin Rouge! (2001) - Plot Summary Poster

(2001)

Plot

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Summaries

  • The year is 1899, and Christian, a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city's drug and prostitute infested underworld. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for Christian as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine. But her affections are also coveted by the club's patron: the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and Christian attempt to fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine...

    O.G.
  • Christian, a young wannabe Bohemian poet living in 1899 Paris, defies his father by joining the colorfully diverse clique inhabiting the dark, fantastical underworld of Paris' now legendary Moulin Rouge. In this seedy but glamorous haven of sex, drugs and newly-discovered electricity, the poet-innocent finds himself plunged into a passionate but ultimately tragic love affair with Satine, the club's highest paid star and the city's most famous courtesan. Their romance is played out against the infamous club - a meeting place of high life and low, where slumming aristocrats and the fashionably rich mingled with workers, artists, Bohemians, actresses and courtesans.

  • In 1900, Christian, an impoverished writer who has come from England the year before, types his story: he arrived in Montmartre and fell in with Toulouse-Lautrec and Bohemians who believe in freedom, truth, beauty, and love. They want to sell a show to the Moulin Rouge, and its impresario wants a backer so he can build a proper theatre. Christian's playing a duke, who wants exclusive access to the favors of Satine, the Moulin Rouge's consumptive star. She wants to be a proper actress, so the duke's offer is fine - except that she and Christian fall in love. Can Satine keep the Duke at bay without losing his patronage, will he discover the lovers and kill Christian, and can love trump jealousy?

  • It's Paris in 1899. Christian, a young English poet, comes to Paris to pursue a penniless career as a writer. However, he soon meets a group of Bohemians who tell him that he should write a musical show for them to be performed at the Moulin Rouge, the most famous underworld night club in Paris. The night they arrive at the Moulin Rouge, Christian meets Satine, the club's star and a beautiful courtesan. He falls head-over-heels in love with her and though it takes a bit of convincing, she falls for him as well. Meanwhile, the club's owner, Harold Zidler, invests in a wealthy Duke to help pay for the club, however, the Duke will only pay if Satine is his. This crazy love triangle twists and turns. And little does Satine know that she has a deadly secret that could end everything.

  • A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

    LVJeff

Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the year 1900, a depressed writer named Christian begins writing on his typewriter ("Nature Boy"). One year earlier, Christian moved to the Montmartre district of Paris to become a writer among members of the area's Bohemian movement. He encounters performers led by Toulouse-Lautrec; his writing skills allow them to finish their proposed show, "Spectacular Spectacular", that they wish to sell to Harold Zidler, owner of the Moulin Rouge. The group arrives at the Moulin Rouge as Zidler and his "Diamond Dog Dancers" perform for the audience ("Lady Marmalade/Zidler's Rap (Can Can)/Smells Like Teen Spirit"). Toulouse arranges for Christian to see Satine, the star courtesan, in her private quarters to present the work, unaware that Zidler is promising Satine to the wealthy and unscrupulous Duke of Monroth, a potential investor in the cabaret ("Sparkling Diamonds" medley). Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke, and dances with him before retiring to her private chamber with him to discuss things privately ("Rhythm of the Night), but soon learns he is just a writer; by this time Christian has fallen in love with her ("Your Song"). The Duke interrupts them; Christian and Satine claim they were practicing lines for "Spectacular Spectacular". With Zidler's help, Toulouse and the rest of the troupe pitch the show to the Duke with an improvised plot about an evil maharajah attempting to woo an Indian courtesan who loves a poor sitar player ("The Pitch (Spectacular Spectacular)"). The Duke backs the show on the condition that only he may see Satine. Satine contemplates on Christian and her longing to leave the Moulin Rouge to become "a real actress" ("One Day I'll Fly Away"). Christian goes back to Satine to convince her that she loves him ("Elephant Love Medley"). As the cabaret is converted to a theater, Christian and Satine continue seeing each other under the pretense of rehearsing Satine's lines. The Duke becomes jealous and warns Zidler that he may stop financing the show; Zidler arranges for Satine to dine with the Duke that evening, but she falls ill from tuberculosis ("Górecki"). Zidler makes excuses to the Duke, claiming that Satine has gone to confession ("Like a Virgin"). Zidler learns that Satine does not have long to live. Satine tells Christian that their relationship endangers the show, but he counters by writing a secret love song to affirm their love ("Come What May"). As the Duke watches Christian rehearsing with Satine, Nini, a jealous performer, points out that the play is a metaphor for Christian, Satine and the Duke. Enraged, the Duke demands the ending be changed so that the courtesan ends up with the maharajah; Satine offers to spend the night with the Duke to keep the original ending. At the Duke's quarters, Satine sees Christian on the streets below, and realizes she cannot go through with this ("El Tango de Roxanne: "Roxanne/Tanguera"). The Duke tries to rape her, but she is saved by Le Chocolat, one of the cabaret dancers, and reunited with Christian, who urges her to run away with him. The Duke tells Zidler he will have Christian killed if Satine is not his. Zidler reiterates this warning to Satine, but when she refuses to return, he finally informs her she is dying ("A Fool to Believe"). Satine tells Christian they can no longer see each other as she will be staying with the Duke ("The Show Must Go On"). Christian tries following her, but is denied entry to the Moulin Rouge, and becomes depressed, even though Toulouse insists that Satine loves him. The night of the show, Christian sneaks into the Moulin Rouge, intending to pay Satine to return his love just as the Duke paid for her ("Hindi Sad Diamonds"). He catches Satine before she steps on stage and demands she tell him she does not love him. Suddenly they find themselves in the spotlight; Zidler convinces the audience that Christian is the disguised sitar player. Christian denounces Satine and walks off the stage. From the rafters, Toulouse cries out, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return", spurring Satine to sing the song Christian wrote to express their love. Christian returns to the stage, joining her in the song. The Duke's bodyguard tries to kill Christian, but is thwarted, while the Duke's own attempt is stopped by Zidler. The Duke storms out of the cabaret as Christian and Satine complete their song ("Come What May (Reprise)", "Coup d'État (Finale)"). After the curtain closes, Satine succumbs to tuberculosis. She and Christian affirm their love before she dies. A year later the Moulin Rouge has closed down, and Christian is writing the tale of his love for Satine, a "love that will live forever" ("Nature Boy (Reprise)").

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