That's *entirely* due to Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor somehow squeezing substance out of the whole pile of crap. They're really good actors. They actually make you give a flying fuck about these idiots they portray.
It's not a simple love story. It's an amalgam of several different stories, the most noteable ingredient being La Boheme. They even ganked the play within a play statements idea from The King and I.. even with the Hindu tinged theme.
Tolouse Latrec was SO utterly over the top, never stopped being over the top, and Leguizamo sounded more like Elmer Fudd than a lispy frenchman.
I'm still very much not a fan of Bas Luhrman.
I think the world at large has given him too much credit. Do something bizarre, call it art, and most people will agree with you just because they think that art is supposed to be something bizarre.
I even had my issues at first with Julie Tamor's version of Titus Andronicus. I still gave it a chance, and somehow her utterly bizarre juxtapositions of time period and genre worked. The remote control to turn on the lights in the colliseum. The rude boys rocking out with the pool table and leather pants and heavy metal, chainlink fence and so forth.
Some of the casting was laughable... Jessice Lange as a devistatingly gorgeous beauty?
Maybe a heavily makeuped 20 years ago.
Anyway... There are certain things there that happen visually that are just fucking gorgeous. They're just *stunning*.
That's what Bas Luhrman tries for (oh and can you TELL that he's trying OH so hard) but fails at.
He just can't pull it off.