Given my first choice of movies, I'll almost always opt for something with scares, bangs, or giggles -- but here's something you may not know about Mr. Genre-boy: I'm a small quivering mass of wussiness whenever Moulin Rouge! comes on. I absolutely love the movie, and I'm not even that big of a Baz Luhrmann aficionado. Probably the fact that Moulin Rouge! is just so freakin' different than what we normally expect from a period piece romance musical flick. (Plus I love the two leads, but that's just icing on the cake.)
Of course Moulin Rouge! treads some pretty familiar ground with its "poor boy, fancy girl, unrequited love that ends tragically" narrative, but it's also loaded with all sorts of clever songs, beautiful sights, and gorgeous women. But one of the film's very best sequences comes when our lovestruck hero (Ewan McGregor) must sit and wait while his beloved (Nicole Kidman) spends the night with a sleazy Duke (Richard Roxburgh). The boy's jealousy, fury, and frustration are then brought to cinematic life by way of a stellar musical number set to the classic pop song "Roxanne."
Anyone who's ever known the bitter sting of jealousy can see what Luhrmann is doing with this enjoyably powerful sequence. With every note from Jacke Koman's supremely gravelly voice and with every stomp of the dancers' feet ... our young hero is falling deeper into the abyss of ravenous jealousy. It's a great marriage of cinematic technique and sincere, painful emotion -- and it's very, very romantic. Albeit in a pretty sad way.