Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 jukebox musical romantic drama film directed, co-produced and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. It follows a young English poet, Christian, who falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge, cabaret actress and courtesan Satine. The film uses the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris and is the final part of Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy," following Strictly Ballroom (1992) and Romeo + Juliet (1996). A co-production of Australia and the United States, it stars Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent and Richard Roxburgh.
In 1900 Paris, a man named Christian, who is suffering from depression, begins writing his story ("Nature Boy"). One year earlier, he moves to the Montmartre district to join the Bohemian movement. Meeting a troupe of performers led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Christian helps them finish their show, Spectacular Spectacular, to sell to Harold Zidler, owner of the Moulin Rouge. They arrive at the Moulin Rouge as Zidler and his "Diamond Dog Dancers" perform ("Zidler's Rap Medley/Can Can Dance"). Toulouse arranges for Christian to present the work to Satine, the star courtesan, unaware that Zidler has promised Satine to the Duke of Monroth, his potential investor ("Sparkling Diamonds").
Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke, and they dance before retiring to her chamber ("Rhythm of the Night", "Meet Me in the Red Room"), but she learns he is merely a writer ("Your Song"). The Duke interrupts, and Christian and Satine claim they were rehearsing Spectacular Spectacular. Aided by Zidler, Toulouse, and the troupe, they pitch the show to the Duke, improvising a 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, provided that only he may court Satine. Satine contemplates Christian and her longing to become "a real actress" ("One Day I'll Fly Away"). Christian returns, and he and Satine fall for each other ("Elephant Love Medley").
As the cabaret is converted to a theater, Christian and Satine meet under the pretense of rehearsing. When the suspicious Duke threatens to stop financing the show, Zidler arranges for Satine to dine with the Duke, but she falls ill from tuberculosis ("If I should die (Górecki)"). Zidler tells the Duke that Satine has gone to confession ("Like a Virgin"). Zidler learns from the doctor treating Satine that she does not have long to live, but keeps this from Christian. Satine tells Christian their relationship endangers the show, but he writes a song to affirm their love ("Come What May").
Nini, a jealous performer, reveals to the Duke that the play is a metaphor for Christian, Satine, and the Duke. The Duke demands the ending be changed to the courtesan choosing the maharajah; Satine offers to spend the night with him to keep the original ending. At the Duke's quarters, Satine sees Christian on the streets below, and realizes she cannot sleep with the Duke ("El Tango de Roxanne (Roxanne)"). The Duke attempts to rape her, but the dancer Le Chocolat saves her. Christian urges Satine to run away with him. The Duke tells Zidler he will have Christian killed if Satine is not his. Zidler warns Satine, but when she refuses, he informs her that she is dying ("A Fool to Believe"). Zidler explains that to save Christian's life, Satine must reject him ("The Show Must Go On"). Barred from the Moulin Rouge, Christian is heartbroken, though Toulouse insists Satine does love him.
The night of the show, Christian sneaks into the Moulin Rouge, intending to pay Satine her fee as a courtesan ("Hindi Sad Diamonds"). He confronts her backstage, but they find themselves in the spotlight; Zidler convinces the audience that Christian is the sitar player in disguise. Christian denounces Satine and walks off the stage. From the rafters, Toulouse declares, "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 orders his bodyguard to kill Christian, but is thwarted, while Zidler stops the Duke's own attempt. The Duke storms out as Christian and Satine complete their song ("Come What May (Reprise)", "Coup d'État (Finale)").
After the curtain closes, Satine succumbs to tuberculosis. Before she dies, Christian and Satine affirm their love and she tells him to write their story. A year later, the Moulin Rouge has closed down and is left in disrepair, and Christian finishes writing the tale of his love for Satine, a "love that will live forever" ("Nature Boy (Reprise)").
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