First and foremost, I’d like to make something clear. Had I not read the little sleeve the movie came in when Netflix shipped it to me, The Fountain would not have made a whole lot of sense. It describes the three iterations of the two main characters – in 16th century Spain, as soldier and Queen; in modern times, as scientist and sick wife; in 26th century space, as an astronaut and…er…a tree. However, if you don’t read that little blurb, or have no previous knowledge of the movie, the scenes in which the two main characters are in the future make very little sense. There is neither an introduction to, nor an explanation of, the scenes in which the “astronaut” and his tree are in a bubble in space and, given the context of the movie, it could mean something very different than what they were trying to accomplish.
The two main characters are played by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. I feel they did a fantastic job portraying the lovers throughout the ages. But the weak connections, disjointed plot, and confusing timeline bogged down the movie and undermined their chemistry. The costumes and scenery are beautiful, but again, the disorientation and lack of explanation leave crucial information to the imagination, which is a sign of a poorly-developed design. And I’d rather use the word “scant” when I’m referencing Weisz’s wardrobe than when I’m discussing the amount of sense the story made.
The one really positive thing I will say about the movie is this: I really, really liked the ending. Weisz’s present-day character, the scientist's wife who was dying of cancer, had a beautiful view of what immortality was, and tried to explain it to Jackman, but he was too obsessed with finding a cure for her – and a cure for death – that he wouldn’t listen. It took him another 500 years – and a trip to a star nebula in space – to figure it out. The way they achieve their goal is very cool, but sadly, doesn’t make up for the time wasted to get there.