Moulin Rouge Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Truth, beauty, freedom, and love: these were the ideals of the Bohemian revolution (a prequel to the Hippie Era) that began at the end of the 1800’s. Fleeing the constraints of a moral society, adventurous or disgraced socialites, artists, writers, and rebellious sons of the European middle-class made their way to a seedy suburb of Paris and a naughty nightclub named after its trademark red windmill—the Moulin Rouge.
The fictitious Christian (Ewan McGregor), is a young writer who pursues his career in the ill reputed neighborhood. Lending his creative talent to his neighbors’ efforts to write a musical show, Christian is selected to convince Satine (Nichol Kidman), star of the Moulin Rouge, to play the lead so they can sell the concept to Zidler (Jim Broadbent), the club’s owner. But Zidler has other plans for the coveted courtesan (a polite name for prostitute with an upscale clientele) whom he’s promised to the Duke (Richard Roxburgh) in exchange for financial support. When introductions turn into mistaken identities, the results are sexual innuendo, falling in love with the wrong man, a gun chase and… a rock musical?
Like a jukebox with a short circuit, Director Baz Luhrmann creates song, dance, and dialogue by piecing together over thirty popular songs from the twentieth century. His quirky anachronisms range from The Sound Of Music to Like A Virgin, and induce a feeling of deja vu.
Meanwhile the love triangle is played against a continual burlesque show of garish carnival characters, gaudy lingerie-clad women, close-ups of CanCan dancers’ pelvic action, depictions of alcohol and drug use (including Absinthe - a popular bohemian hallucinogenic beverage), prostitutes, cross-dressers, and abundant sexual banter.
Although the film “can can” show beauty exchanged for sensuality, love reduced to prostitution, bohemian freedom trapping Satine into longingly singing “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” and the bitter truth: “Don’t fall in love with a woman who sells herself- it always ends bad,” young sentimental viewers may miss these messages in the movie’s romantic music and hypnotic elements. Parents concerned about the abundant sexual content should say “don’t don’t ” to Moulin Rouge.Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Starring Ewan MacGregor Nicole Kidman. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release June 21, 2001. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Moulin Rouge rated PG-13? Moulin Rouge is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content.
The tawdry world of the Moulin Rouge is the backdrop for this reinvention of the rock musical that pieces together snippets of popular music from the twentieth century to create a tragic romance between a naive poet and a seasoned courtesan. Although the creative use of golden oldies is humorous and even effective at times, the film is often reminiscent of a hallucinogenic experience and contains constant sexual content that oftimes glamorizes prostitution.
Unconscious man falls through ceiling and hangs by leg. Woman falls from swing, avoids injuries. Woman coughs up small amount of blood on several occasions. Man uses verbal pressure to manipulate a woman’s behavior. Wrecking ball nearly hits unsuspecting man. Man wrestles with and strikes a woman whom he attempts to rape. Two scenes where one man punches another man. Man orders a hit-man to kill another man. Man with gun pursues another with murderous intent. Unconscious man falls down stairs and through a trap door. Several gunshots fired. Sandbag is dropped on man’s head. Man swings on rope after falling from scaffolding. A few drops of blood are shown on woman’s face and man’s shoulder.
Sexual Content: D
Set in a cabaret/bordello, the film’s main character is a prostitute, and there are many discussions and depictions surrounding pimps, whores, and women selling their bodies. To create the Red Light District atmosphere, the film constantly parades women in scanty lingerie, with tightly corseted pushed up breasts, involved in risque dancing (such as the CanCan where their pelvic action and expose panties are featured in many close-ups) or trying to seduce men (by constantly touching them or their own body and grabbing at their crotch). Other background depictions include men dressed as women, and men dancing with other men. Naked women with other women or unclothed couples are the subjects of paintings that adorn walls. Common in the plentiful dancing sequences are lavish costumes, tantalizing bare legs, and flashes of backsides, which mesmerizes the male audience who grope at the performers. Against this backdrop, specific content includes: Man touches another man’s groin with no sexual intent, man pretends to grab woman’s backside, man has cold drink spilled in lap, woman changes her clothes in front of man (head and shoulders shown), remarks about poetry mistaken for sexual banter. A woman who announces she’ll be a seductive temptress dresses in black lingerie, and tries to entice a man by striking sexy poses, fondling her body and making moaning noises. She then attempts to rip off his clothes, and succeeds at putting her hands down his pants. Male friends observing her overtures make sexual comments. Man gets trapped under a woman’s dress. Several occasions of men and women kissing, and woman throwing herself on top of a man or pulling man on top of herself. Man’s attempts to arouse an unconscious woman are mistaken for sexual activity. Gelatin dessert looks like women’s breasts. Champagne bottles pop corks at a scene’s musical climax. Woman argues in favor of sleeping with a man for his financial favors. Embracing naked man and woman stand with blanket wrapped around their waists, woman lies on bed with arms and sheet obscuring her nudity, sexual relationship is implied. Man denied sex grabs woman and pulls off her clothes, puts his hand down her dress, and throws her on a bed. Lyrics to some songs used in this musical are about sexual topics, such as… Like a Virgin, and Roxanne (about a prostitute).
At least: one mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C-
Social drinking, drinking to excess, and turning to alcohol to avoid reality are depicted through out the film by both major and minor characters. Lead characters also drink Absinthe (a hallucinogenic beverage popular at that time), which is implied to increase creative abilities. Incidental smoking. Injected medicine administered by doctor and oral medication given to patient by a friend.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Moulin Rouge after the break...
Moulin Rouge Parents' Guide
The Moulin Rouge has been an infamous part of Parisian nightlife since it opened its doors in 1889 and actually had a large elephant with a room inside it. Toulouse Lautrec (portrayed in this film), a famous artist that came out of the bohemian movement, was a frequent visitor to the cabaret. His life, shortened by alcohol addiction, is credited for establishing anti-socialism as a stereotype for the modern artist.
Do you feel artistic people must abandon mainstream society and use mind-altering substances to be creative? Can you think of any famous people who have followed Luatrec’s formula for success, who have also had their lives end tragically?
The most recent home video release of Moulin Rouge movie is October 19, 2010. Here are some details…
Moulin Rouge releases on Blu-ray on November 19, 2010. The disc includes:
- New High Definition Transfer
- Picture-in-Picture Mode (with Audio Commentary by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Donald M. McAlpine and Craig Pearce)
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Stills
- Featurette: A Creative Adventure, Introduction by Baz Luhrmann, and A Word from Baz
-Uncut Footage from the Bazmark Vault: Father & Son (A Look at an Alternate Opening) and Nicole Kidman’s First Vocal Test.
- Production Featurettes and Interviews: The Stars, The Writers, The Design, The Dance, The Music and The Cutting Room
- The Making of Moulin Rouge.
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
DVD Extras for Mouiin Rouge:
Production & Writing commentary
Behind the scenes
HBO special - Making Of Moulin Rouge
Star featurettes: Early screenplay drafts, Extended scenes & re-cut dance sequences, Dance pre-shoots.
>Music videos and MTV live performance
Design and marketing gallery