Oscar History

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Valentine's - An Elephant Love Medley to Moulin Rouge!

We've been celebrating Valentine's with lovers from Eternal Sunshine, Gone Girl, and Weekend. Here's Jorge Molina on a film that's practically our mascot at TFE.

There are many angles I could take on Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! for Valentine’s Day. Its unapologetic pastiche of classic tragedy and romance. Its embrace of melodrama and sentimentality. Its larger-than-life lens on life and characters. The way Nicole Kidman fake orgasms.

I decided I could take on all of them in 300 words the same way the movie did in 3 minutes and 50 seconds.

In the Elephant Love Medley, the film takes about a dozen of the last century’s most famous love songs (of all genres and styles, from Sinatra’s “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” to Bowie’s “Heroes”), and throws them together for Satine and Christian to talk-sing through and fawn over.

It’s a shameless display of the overpowering emotion that floods every frame of the musical, both in the endearing schmaltz of hearing McGregor belt Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and the literal fireworks exploding inside the velvet-covered elephant room as he does it.

It’s a chase and a courtship culminating in a kiss. It’s actually a very important plot point in the narrative, as it literally sparks the romance between the two protagonists. It’s a love song to love songs, and an anthem to and for lovers.

It’s the perfect excerpt that encapsulates the themes and style of the movie. If you were not with the movie until this point, it loses you. If you were down for the ride, it wins you over.

I believe Moulin Rouge! is one of the most romantic movies of our time, for the shameless way it embodies the mindless, emotion-driven, fully passionate and yet slightly delirious aspect of romantic love. And it does so on top on an elephant. How wonderful life is when told like that, huh?

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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Reader Comments (10)

On Colbert last night Shailene Woodley said she would sing this on the set of her new show "Big Little Lies" when Kidman was around.

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Doesn't get old!

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid_Essex

"It’s the perfect excerpt that encapsulates the themes and style of the movie. If you were not with the movie until this point, it loses you."

I can't imagine being near a person like that. I basically became the heart eyes emoji with this scene. Perfect casting with Ewan McGregor with his beautiful voice and charisma. You could see why Satine fell in love with him too. My favorite movie of all time. I keep hoping to have a deep connection with another movie like this but maybe that's too much to ask for. Moulin Rouge basically ruined my expectations of romance.

If you can't romance me like Christian, what are we even doing.

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

it sure did earn that ART DIRECTION Oscar didn't it!?!

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

I was a professional dancer in my youth and danced in three movie musicals. I loved all musicals thru WestSide Story . Chicago was great. Other than those I have not cared for musicals. I have tried 3 times to watch Moulin Rouge and cannot get into it at all. I may try again once more and see!

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMax

Gosh, Art Direction that year really was a bounty of riches, huh? "Moulin Rouge!," "The Fellowship of the Ring," "Amélie," "The Sorcerer's Stone," "Gosford Park." Any would have been a worthy winner. We were spoiled!

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

They both have such Beautiful voices! God I wish I were Ewan McGregor. Can't believe he's never been nominated for an Oscar yet.

February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Whenever I meet a cute boy, I tend to use the line "You're going to be bad for business" and it always devastates me when they don't get it.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike B.

Yes McGregor shld've been nom for his terrific turn n VOICE for MR! Luhrmann was also unfairly snubbed o a best dir nod!

I wish Kidman had won her Oscar for this rather than The Hours and Zellweger, for Chicago rather than Cold Mount, so tt Clarkson cld win for Pieces o April in 2003.

And Julianne shld've won for The Hours rather than Zeta-Jones.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran


Agree with all you said. Excepts Streep should have won for Adaptation.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMax

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