I'm still turning The Fountain over. I like it. I like Hugh Jackman in it. I like the movie's swooning ambition, the tactile ways it teleports itself through the centuries. I admire the feverish quality of its overlapping certainties, and the ways Aronofsky wants to both conjure and unlock some essential mysteries here.
But I don't love it yet, or exactly feel it. I think the film organises itself around ideas too high-handedly to flesh them out in human terms, beyond the Cronenberg-worthy sexual imagery. (You're missing out until you've seen Jackman gulp down spunk — sorry, sap — from the Tree of Life.) I can intellectualise this odyssey and make it sound organic but I'm having to do too much of the work myself. The phrase "transcendental kitsch" occurred and kept clogging my thoughts, and my response to Aronofsky's overprocessed visuals, in the late going. I want the movie to be simpler, really: I want fewer pyrotechnics, more of a spare ascent. A honing to a point. Some kind of white-out.
But I'm dying to see it again, and there's one thing in it I genuinely adore. Clint Mansell and Mogwai's music is a thing of wonder: I've had little else playing in the flat for the last two days. I wonder what The Fountain would be without it, actually — a far lesser achievement. (Aronofsky seems to think with his scores.) Mansell's searching cellos, in love with their own melancholy, washed ashore by a tragic tide of expectant violins, will fuel my own obsessions, dreams, and longings for weeks yet. It's not just the soundtrack of the year, but one of the most beautiful I know.
The film: B
The score: A+