Curing seasonal heartbreak

How ‘Moulin Rouge’ teaches timeless lessons on love

Cameron Neiblum, Contributing Writer

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The dark winter months carry a series of different body-aching illnesses, plaguing the college with fatigue, coughing fits, stuffy noses and worst of all, heartache. It is during this time, when the snow continues to fall and the sun refuses to come out, when the greatest cure for one’s sorrows does not come in tiny pill bottles or cough syrups but rather in the form of a movie called “Moulin Rouge!”

When endless streams of lonely nights turn into long, sunless, work-filled days, hearts commonly fill with sorrow and perhaps, in the worst cases, people give on up looking for love. Maybe after a particularly hurtful ending of a relationship this seems like the best solution, and maybe college just appears to be a wasteland where the bloom of love could never grow.

This may be true, but it does not mean that one cannot still find the most powerful, beautiful, rich feeling that a human can feel, even if it is in a more minute form. The time I first thought I found love, at the age of four years old, my mother doubted my feelings not because I was too young, but because I did not yet understand the extent and maturity it takes to fully give one’s heart and life to another. To teach me, she sat me down and showed me “Moulin Rouge!”

“Moulin Rouge!” is a musical directed by Baz Luhrmann and features Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. It is a romantic drama about a writer named Christian who falls in love with a young beautiful courtesan, Satine.

When capturing a sense of love, it feels like new stars are formed, unexplored lands appear out of nowhere, and what was once bland is now the most exciting…”

— Cameron Neiblum

Having worked her whole life as a prostitute, Satine believed love was a frivolous notion. She thought the only way to “feel” love was to pay for it. Christian was a member of the bohemian revolution who believed in freedom, beauty, truth and above all things, love.

The movie takes place in the Moulin Rouge, a cabaret where wealthy men in early 20th century Paris would watch women dance and then purchase their “affection” for the night. Christian and a crew of other artists desired the afamed can-can dancers and the diamond dog, Satine, to be in their play. In a chaotic and humorous moment of identity confusion between a wealthy Duke, who was planning to purchase the cabaret, and Christian, Satine accepts the Christian’s offer and convinces the Duke to pay for the whole show.

The movie follows the antics of putting on a show about a princess who must marry a wealthy Sultan, when she is in fact in love with the penniless sitar player — a summary that describes the stories of the characters real lives as well. Satine balances her job dealing with the Duke and her newfound feelings for the penniless writer, Christian, all the while becoming terribly ill with a disease only her maiden and doctor know about.

The film’s story leads people to long for a romance as pure as Satine’s and Christian’s and understand how foolish the barriers of life are when their only purpose is to keep people from happiness.

Having grown up with musicals, I often forget that other people do not enjoy watching other people sporadically break into song.  I can understand why potential viewers may be deterred from seeing the movie. Perhaps I can sway those naysayers by telling them the songs in the movie are renditions of famous songs such as Elton John’s song, “Your Song,” and Christina Aguilera’s song, “Lady Marmalade,” which are older pop songs that can still yank listeners’ heartstrings today.

The actors voices are that of angels. Most importantly, if you are watching with an open mind and allow yourself to feel like Satine did, this movie will make you see the world as Christian sees it — a beautiful place filled to the brim with soul wrenching, mind reeling, skin pricking and heart fulfilling love.

After speaking with many people, I am aware my opinions on love are in the minority. That said, I recommend anyone and everyone should take two hours, grab a pint, or even a gallon of ice cream, a cup of coffee and watch the greatest love story humans have ever known.

All humans who feel emotion can relate to the sorrows of Satine. Though they may not be courtesans, I think the feeling of being trapped by financial burdens and obligations towards other people is universal.

Through the slings and arrows of life, it can be easy to throw love out with the grime of everything else, thinking of it as nothing more than just a game or even a frivolous addition of unnecessary stress that is not ideal to add onto an already massive workload. Instead of thinking about finding love, people under stress think of getting as far away from it as possible.

What people who think this way may not understand is that one does not actually have to travel to open up a whole new world. When capturing a sense of love, it feels like new stars are formed, unexplored lands appear out of nowhere, and what was once bland is now the most exciting thing or place in the world.

Christian affectionately says the world should be filled with silly love songs, and it is not crazy for two people to fall in love in the same night. It is then, when love consumes the brain, where we are lifted up to where we belong.

Having been there myself, knowing what love is, I cannot help but agree with him.

The best way to cure the sorrows of winter heart pains is to feed yourself a healthy dose of true love with “Moulin Rouge.” It is there, in the red windmilled building, where dancing, laughing, tragedy, greed, singing, friendship and the feeling of love can be rediscovered. It is not until after you have seen this movie, will you know, “that the greatest thing you will ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”