At its core, The Fountain is the story of a 21st century man, Tom, (Hugh Jackman), losing his wife Izzi (Rachel Weisz) to cancer in 2005. As she is dying, Izzi begs Tommy to share what time they have left together, but he is focused on his quest to find a cure for her.
While he's working in the lab, she writes a story about 16th century Queen Isabella losing her territory to the Inquisition while her betrothed, conquistador Tomás, plunges through the Central America forest in Mayan territory, searching for the Tree of Life for his Queen.
Since she doesn't have time herself, Izzi asks Tommy to finish the story for her. As they look out to the stars, she imagines that their souls will meet there when the star dies. And we see astronaut Tom, in 2500, traveling there for the event, in a spaceship made of an enclosed biosphere containing the Tree of Life.
The three story lines are told nonlinearly, each separated by five centuries. The three periods are interwoven with match cuts and recurring visual motifs; Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz play the main characters for all three narratives. Even within a given narrative, the elements of that particular story are not told in chronological order.
The film opens with a quote from the Book of Job.
Afterwards, a mysterious, wavering light that resembles a flame flickers in the darkness. Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) recalls a lesson taught to her that people must choose to either follow the path of grace or the path of nature. In the early 1970s, she receives a telegram informing her of the death of her son, R.L., at age nineteen. Mr. O'Brien (Brad Pitt) is notified by telephone while at an airport. The family is thrown into turmoil.
In the 2000s, eldest son Jack O'Brien (Sean Penn) is adrift in his modern life as an architect. One day he has an argument with his father regarding R.L.'s death. Later, after Jack sees a tree being planted in front of a building, he begins to reminisce about his life as a young teenager during the 1960s.
The universe is formed, including the Milky Way galaxy and the Solar System. Voices ask various existential questions. On the newly formed Earth, volcanoes erupt and microbes begin to form. Early sea life is shown, then plants on land, then dinosaurs. From the vantage point of space, an asteroid is seen impacting the Earth. (For these sequences, the music is "Lacrimosa," a movement from Zbigniew Preisner's Requiem for My Friend .)
The story is set in Goa. Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) is a former magician who is paralyzed from neck down quadriplegic. He is currently a Radio Jockey. Sofia D'Souza (Aishwarya Rai), is his nurse for the past twelve years. On the fourteenth anniversary of his accident, Ethan decides to file an appeal to the court for euthanasia (mercy killing) with the help of his best friend and lawyer Devyani Dutta (Shernaz Patel). Ethan's mother Isabel Mascarenhas (Nafisa Ali) also supports him in his petition, backing her son's demand. A young man named Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) enters Ethan's life to learn magic from him.
Judge Rajhansmoni (Vijay Crishna) dismisses the case immediately when the case is presented in the court. Devyani asks Ethan to garner public support through a vote on the issue through his radio programme, which Ethan christens "Project Eathanasia." . The issue comes into the limelight through news features in the television and other media. An appeal is once again submitted to the court. In between Ethan's mother passes away and Sofia is dragged away by her alcoholic husband, Neville D'Souza (Makarand Deshpande) against whom she had filed a divorce case.
“Hereafter” tells the story of three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. Matt Damon stars as George, a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (Cécile de France), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might or must exist in the hereafter.
The film also stars award-winning French actress Cécile de France (“A Secret”) as Marie, and twins Frankie and George McLaren. The international cast also includes Jay Mohr (“Street Kings,” TV’s “Gary Unmarried”), Bryce Dallas Howard (“Eclipse,” “Spider-Man 3”), Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic and Derek Jacobi.
“Hereafter” is produced by Eastwood, multiple Oscar®-nominated producer Kathleen Kennedy (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Munich,” “E.T.”) and two-time Oscar® nominee Robert Lorenz (“Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Mystic River”). Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Peter Morgan and Tim Moore served as executive producers.
“Outsourced,” in which a Seattle call center manager named Todd (Josh Hamilton) is fired and then dispatched to India as a consultant to train his own replacement, is a wonderful surprise.
At first it threatens to be just another fish-out-of-water story. The film’s director, John Jeffcoat, and his co-writer, George Wing, hit expected marks, from the moment when a street urchin swipes the hero’s cellphone to the bit where Todd learns why Indians don’t eat with their left hand to the scene where Todd realizes that his sharpest employee, an outspoken young woman named Asha (Ayesha Dharker), is gorgeous and has a crush on him.
Gratifyingly, though, the filmmakers treat Todd’s story as a springboard for a smart look at the effect of cultural difference on work, friendship and love, and the global economy’s impact on national and personal identity.
Todd, being American, has no sense of himself as an American. He has an allergic reaction to Indian culture (embodied by the intestinal distress he suffers after eating local food). He is also taken aback by Indians’ emphasis on family ties and social obligations, and they in turn are politely aghast at Todd’s disconnection from his own relatives.
Todd’s trainee, the polite, 40-ish Puro (Asif Basra), lives with his parents and is surprised that Todd lives alone and rarely visits his own mother. He insists that Todd forgo his prearranged hotel room and stay at his home, where his mom cooks up a storm and grills Todd on why he isn’t married yet.