Posted in Wednesday Warriors


From the moment he saw her he knew his life wouldn’t be the same again.

In 1899, Christian (Ewan McGregor), a young writer with big dreams, goes to Paris to make a name for himself. In the process, he finds something else entirely different.

Ewan McGregor as Christian
Ewan McGregor as Christian

Today’s Wednesday Warriors looks at Christian, a love-struck poet who finds purpose in Baz Luhrmann‘s turn-of-the-century Parisian cabaret called Moulin Rouge.

Everyone knows her as the Sparkling Diamond. As a courtesan, she is anything but. Satine (Nicole Kidman) sells herself to anyone who can afford her. To Christian though, she becomes his love:

Satine: I can’t fall in love with anyone
Christian: Can’t. Fall. In love? But, a life without love, that’s. Terrible.
Satine: No, being on the street, that’s terrible.
Christian: No! Love is like oxygen!
Satine: What?
Christian: Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!
Christian: [bursts out into song]

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge

Yet, in spite of his affection for the beautiful woman, he has a lot to learn:

Christian: Wait. No, please wait. Before, when we were—when you thought I was the Duke, you said that you loved me, a—and I wondered if—
Satine: It was just an act?
Christian: Yes.
Satine: Of course.
Christian: Oh. It just felt real.
Satine: Christian, I’m a courtesan. I’m paid to make men believe what they want to believe.

Nicole Kidman as Satine
Nicole Kidman as Satine

Even knowing the worst about the Sparkling Diamond does not diminish Christian’s love for her. To complicate his life, The Duke (Richard Roxburgh), an affluent patron to Harold Zidler’s (Jim Broadbent) Moulin Rouge, wants Satine all to himself. He is willing to pay handsomely for her services—something Christian does not fully understand even when Satine is trying hard to keep their relationship a secret:

Zidler: The Duke holds the deeds to the Moulin Rouge. He’s spending a fortune on you. He’s giving you a beautiful new dressing room. He wants to make you a star. And YOU’RE DALLYING WITH THE WRITER!
Satine: Harold, that’s ridic—
Satine: It’s nothing. It’s just an infatuation. It’s nothing.
Zidler: The infatuation will end. Go to the boy; tell him it’s over, and the Duke is expecting you in the tower at eight.

As much as Christian will proclaim his love for Satine in song, he can’t help but allow jealousy to enter his heart:

Christian: Where were you last night?
Satine: I told you. I was sick.
Christian: You don’t have to lie to me.
Satine: We have to end it. Everybody knows. Harold knows. Sooner or later the Duke will find out.

The greatest thing...
The greatest thing…

The words to the eventual final moments of their relationship comes to Christian after seeing Satine succumb to The Duke’s wily inclinations:

Christian: [to the Duke] This woman is yours now. I’ve paid my whore.
Christian: [to Satine] I owe you nothing. And you are nothing to me. Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love.'ll ever learn...
…you’ll ever learn…

Christian loves Satine so much that he can’t bring himself to accept her lot in life. There is, however, one lesson Christian will never forget, and that is:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

[Author’s Note: Having written this post December 16, 2014 to kick off my new Wednesday Warriors series that premiered December 17, 2014, I held off publishing it because of its lack of conclusion. Months later, I had revisited it hoping I could come up with something better than relying on the film’s main premise for an ending. Then it dawned on me that the film ended like a Shakespearean tragedy, much as I had written this post months earlier. Therefore, I decided to publish it today as is because I feel there really is no other way to conclude this post other than to reflect the film’s true message about love.]


Have you seen Moulin Rouge? What do you think of Christian’s love for Satine?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

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