There are two things I’m a total sucker for: love songs and “The Fountain.” I’ve known this for quite some time and was actually quite ashamed of it until a few years ago. I am not entirely sure why I was ashamed to be a sucker for these things, but it may have something to do with “manliness” or some other bullshit like that. This is ridiculous of course, and now I can unabashedly embrace my love for the idea of love.
This whole line of thought came about through the creation of a list of the ten greatest songs I currently own. It was remarkably difficult, but the one undeniable fact that came from this was that love songs are often some the best songs written by any particular artist. I don’t know if it’s due to the intensity of love and how it feels differently to everyone or what, but it is clearly some of the best song fodder of all time. This is by no means a novel observation and I don’t mean for it to seem profound, but it’s something that is nice to finally accept for what it is.
The love songs serve as a good transition into my feelings about Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film “The Fountain.” I’m not even going to touch the artistic aspects of the film that make it such a masterpiece, but instead I am going to focus on the story and why it makes such an impact on me every time I watch it (which happens to be at least once a month).
Two things strike me deeply every time I watch The Fountain. The first is that I can realistically see myself as the main character, Tommy. He happens to be a scientist working on brain cancer research; the very same research that could cure his ailing wife. I could see that being me. Working endlessly, using all my intellect to solve an insolvable problem to the point of neglecting the very thing that drove me to work so hard in the first place. It was all Tommy knew, so he lost himself in his own work for the entirely selfish reason of not wanting to let go of the love of his life even though she was finally comfortable letting go. He took a commendable, yet self-defeating view of his terrible situation and reaped the consequences later on in the film.
The second thing I see is the most intense depiction of true love I’ve ever witnessed on film. Knowing the realities of my own history of love it gives me a depiction of what I aspire to have at some point. At the same point, the movie terrifies me greatly. You see, one of the most clear ways love was shown in the film was though moments of the most intense sadness. Desperation, complete despair, a total mental breakdown, and finally a single, unbreakable focus were what made Tommy the remarkable man he was in this story. What I fear is that I am simply not capable of having such intense emotions, and by extension can never feel the love he felt for his wife. I realize this is probably an unreasonable way to feel, but there’s something in me that keeps me from not rejecting it entirely. All I know is that I want to feel for someone the way that Tommy felt for his wife, Izzy.
Is that too much to ask?