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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Though he is a thoroughly unpleasant man- and an attempted rapist to boot- it's not impossible to feel sorry for the Duke. Satine did, indeed, make him think that she loved him, and she treated him spectacularly badly thanks to her infatuation with Christian. Doesn't excuse the rape and threatened murder, but the Duke could be considered more sympathetic if you see things from his side. Helps that he isn't very bright, either.
      • He might have even suspected that Satine was playing him the whole time but went along with it because she was just too sexy to resist.
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    • Essentially, Satine is a prostitute who manipulates her client into spending a ton of money on her and on a musical that covertly mocks him. She sleeps with his employee instead of him, and everyone covers up for them and mocks him behind his back.
    • Nini Legs-in-the-Air blowing Christian and Satine's cover to the Duke. Did she crack out of fear? Or was she motivated by jealousy, hoping to knock Satine down a peg? Or is she a Troll who wanted to watch the drama unfold?
    • Is Christian finally experiencing One True Love and his heartbroken behavior at the end expected, or is it just Puppy Love and he loves the romantic idea of them together, and thus his humiliation and degradation of Satine when his idealistic worldview is shattered is unforgivable, and proof that it was? Notice how he was dazzled by her good looks even when she was trashing his worldview. He can be seen as being both too perfect for being overly idealistic when falling in love with a prostitute and too flawed for slut shaming her in front of an entire audience and letting these events ruin his life.
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    • How accurate is Christian's transcribing of the events of the movie? Is he being as faithful to the events as they actually occurred, or are they romanticized to the point of parody heavily skewing himself and Satine as innocent victims of circumstance and the Duke as an almost cartoonishly dopey and then evil villain?
  • Anvilicious: Life gets in the way of love, but love is the greatest thing you will experience.
  • Awesome Music: "El Tango De Roxanne", "Elephant Love Medley", and "Come What May".
  • Cliché Storm: A positive example, for some, seeing it as a love letter to romance. Two people from different social classes fall in love, and the wealthy characters strongly disapprove, so a deadly love triangle ensues. One of them thinks that they hate each other and so they must both confess their love during the climax, and it works.
  • Covered Up: Many don't know that "Lady Marmalade" was originally done by Labelle in The '70s. Also, in spite of its popularity and the fact that it was used in a good deal of the film's marketing, that was not the version actually used in the film. The song itself, blended with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and original verse spoken by Jim Broadbent, is the first really big number in the film.
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  • Designated Hero: Harold Zidler in particular comes off as a rather vile character if you break down everything he does during the movie; first off he is a pimp and is in charge of selling Satine and the other Diamond Dogs to interested buyers, he bankrupts the brothel he's running due to his sick obsession with electricity (an investment that he could never hope to see a return on due to the cost of power and maintenance of such a set-up during the turn of the century), he is the mastermind behind the plan to lure the Duke in and have him bankroll the brothel's transformation into a theater, he holds Satine's dream of being a 'real actress' over her head to convince her to do what he says, he knows Satine's health is deteriorating but doesn't remove her from the show, tell the Duke, or even her until she's ready to leave the show, and he is the one who agreed to the Duke's terms to have Satine contractually bound to the Duke and handed the deed over to him. And yet, he gets a pass just because he punches the Duke at the end. And probably because he's quite an OTT and entertaining character to watch.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Nini Legs-in-the-Air gets a lot of this from people who frame her as someone terrified of what might happen if Christian and Satine were found out. There's really no evidence for this in the film, as noted above, and she appears to be motivated by jealousy. What's more is that being afraid doesn't really justify snitching on them - considering she pretty much ensures that everything definitely goes wrong a lot sooner than usual. Not to mention that makes her indirectly responsible for the Duke raping Satine.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Jeopardize your lucrative career options in entertainment if it gets the way of finding true love.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Defied or lampshaded, when the Narcoleptic Argentinian admires Christian's attitude. "I like this boy..." ( Beat, the Bohemians give a weird look) "Nothing funny. I just like talent." He also touched Christian's crotch as he said it. And he later kisses him. Not to mention later at the celebration party, the Diamond Dog he is most interested in is Travesty ... the cross-dresser.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Duke is a bit of a simpleton Manchild and Satine (in conspiracy with the entire circus) is trying to seduce him for his money and connections; he is too besotted and naïve to realize this. While his later behavior is outright villainous, it's probably a case of him Jumping Off the Slippery Slope after he starts to see how cruelly he has been used and humiliated. He is the bad guy, but that doesn't make the other characters the "good" guys.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The audience knows from the start that the Duke isn't a nice person; it's when he tries to rape Satine after she refuses him that he loses any sympathetic edge he might have had.
  • Narm:
    • Some people might find Christian's hysterical sobbing/laughing when Satine dies a bit...misplaced. Word of God is that this is deliberate; Christian is so utterly devastated by Satine's loss that he's past caring whether or not he sounds ridiculous. Whether or not the audience agrees is up for debate.
    • Satine saying how she wants to be "a real actress" when she is already singing, dancing and performing for hundreds of adoring people.
    • The movie's constant preaching about love is this too, especially combined with most of the performances in the movie.
    • The Duke saying "my way" repeatedly.
    • The Duke screaming "I JUST...DON'T...LIKE OTHER PEOPLE TOUCHING MY THINGS!!!!!!"
    • Also the scene where Christian's reciting his "poem" note  in Satine's room, Satine's erm...reaction fits.
      • Similarly, Satine's attempt to distract the Duke is not great.
  • Nightmare Fuel: El Tango De Roxanne starts to veer into this territory when the Duke realizes he's been played for a fool and prepares to rape Satine.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • One iconic element of this film was Kylie Minogue as the Green Fairy. Her scene lasted less than a minute.
    • El Tango De Roxanne is performed by 2, until then, background characters.
  • Retroactive Recognition: We find out Slughorn's previous profession.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some audience members felt this way about the choppy nature of the music. Typically, this reaction comes during the first music number when they hear Nirvana alongside Madonna.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: At first played straight, then inverted. By Word of God, the reason the Bohemians couldn't get their version of "The Sound of Music" right and resorted to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, and why Christian could get it right and wow them, was because Christian had an understanding of True Art that they did not—it was a stylistic choice. This is then continually inverted throughout the whole movie, where modern songs are used in place of the sort of music there would actually have been in 1899 Montmartre in order to help the viewer understand what it would have been like then and how those going to the Moulin Rouge would have felt (their idea of decadence and ours would not mix, but that is what it was to them), as well as to express feelings the characters otherwise could not. It's an interesting conceit, but whether it actually works or is appropriate is up to the viewer.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Doug Walker found Satine's dream of becoming "a real actress" to be blind ambition since she was already an accomplished performer. Not helping is the fact that through most of the movie, she can't even decide whether to persue that ambition with The Duke or to follow Christian's "love conquers all" philosophy. She tries to have the best of both worlds, with disastrous consequences for everyone.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: If you're reading the descriptions, you know this is the biggest abysnthe trip ever filmed.

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