Movie Night: Moulin Rouge!

Welcome to Movie Night! Where we choose a movie based on any number of variables and feelings, create a themed menu and some decoration ideas to match, then spend the night eating these foods and watching these movies! It’s an uncomplicated but promising plan.

Tonight’s movie is a perfect selection for a Valentine’s Day date with your someone special! Instead of heading out to a crowded, expensive restaurant for a romantic dinner, stay home and cook something delicious for your babe. Alternatively, turn this into a dinner party for friends. Moulin Rouge! is a musical extravaganza love story that will make you laugh and sing.

The Movie

Moulin Rouge!

[buy/stream it here]


Synopsis (from IMBD):

The year is 1899, and Christian, a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for Christian as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine. But her affections are also coveted by the club’s patron: the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and Christian attempt to fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine.

I watched Moulin Rouge! for the first time when I was 16. I was enchanted by the music, the camp, the costumes but most of all its message. As a nerdy teenager who aspired to be a writer one day, I definitely believed in the bohemian revolution. Like Christian and his friends, I believed in truth, beauty, freedom and most of all — love. Time has passed and the film doesn’t quite resonate with me as much as it did that first time I watched it, but I still believe in the revolution! I think that’s why I still love it.

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

Moulin Rouge! is such a fun movie, and it’s greatly fueled by the pastiched music. The soundtrack is a hodgepodge of pop hits and pop culture references smashed together to create the perfect, hybrid soundtrack. My favorites are “Sparkling Diamonds” (riffing off of Marilyn’s Monroe’s “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and Madonna’s “Material Girl”) and “Your Song” (a cover of Elton John’s same-titled song). The music, accompanied by the hilarious lines and eccentric costumes, makes watching this movie such a colorful experience. I mean, this is a Baz Luhrmann film so at one point your laughing and having a really great time and then you stop because it’s not all fun and games anymore. What I’m saying is there’s drama and tragedy too.


Moulin Rouge! has all the greatest elements in a movie, perfect to enjoy with your date or friends. I hope you like it!

Below are some suggestions for a Spectacular! Spectacular! night.

 Setting the Mood

Here are some ideas to theme up your evening.

+ Before or after dinner, have some drinks! Satine offers Christian champagne at the “poetry reading” so sip on some bubbly to start off. If you really want to party like a bohemian, have some absinthe to truly appreciate the Green Fairy.


+ Dress up like your favorite characters! If you want to make this a fancy affair, wear a sultry, red dress and jewels like Satine or a tux and top hat like Christian. If you want to go a less formal route and a more playful route, dress like a can-can girl or one of the bohemians.


+ I think it’s imperative to listen to “Lady Marmalade” while you cook or get ready. You know, for inspiration.

The Menu

+(Narcoleptic Argentinean) Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
+ Green (Fairy) Bean and Tomato Salad
+(Sparkling Diamonds) Angel Food Cake with Mixed-Berry Compote

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients for Chimichurri Marinade and Sauce:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole shallot, minced
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups minced cilantro
1 cup minced parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped oregano
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Honestly, the hardest part of this whole recipe was chopping everything in the chimichurri sauce, which wasn’t really hard, just tedious. Alternatively, you could probably put all of this in a food processor and it would turn out the same. (I have a shitty blender, so I didn’t try this!) Let’s get started! After you mince your garlic and shallot put it in a medium container and add the red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt. Let it stand for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, finely chop the parsley, cilantro and oregno required and stir it into the mixture already in the bowl. Then whisk in the oil.

So have you noticed that this is a ton of chimichurri? It’s going to serve as a marinade and sauce. Save about half a cup of the sauce to eat with your finished product. Use the rest as a marinade for your steak. I totally forgot to plan ahead and was short on time so I missed this step. Your steak will probably taste so much better if you do! I advise you go forth and marinade your steak for at least ~3 hours. 



Once your steak is marinaded, it’s time to add it to the grill! I used a small George Foreman grill but if you don’t have any kind of grill, I think you could probably put this in the oven. My grill was on medium-high heat and I let it grill for about 5 minutes each side.

Green Bean and Tomato Side

Ingredients for this side:

fistfuls of green beans
1/2 a box of grape tomatoes


This is a super simple side, yet so delicious. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut the ends of the green beans and slice the tomatoes in half. Lay your green beans (only the green beans!) on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Put them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Take them out and add the tomatoes. Put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.


Viola! This is the end product.

Angel Food Cake with Mixed-Berry Compote

Ingredients for a Sparkling Dessert:

Angel Food Cake (store bought or homemade, whatevs)
Berries of your choice! (fresh or frozen, doesn’t matter)
Your choice of berry jam or preservatives
Whipped Topping
*~*Sparkling*~* Sprinkles


This dessert is so simple, yet so delicious! My sister first made this dessert for me a few years ago and it’s always a nice treat. I don’t know exact measurements so just eyeball everything. First, add several spoonfuls of jam or preservatives, along with a little bit of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Don’t add too much water, you don’t want your sauce to be watery. Stir in your berries. Stir your compote, until it looks like a good consistency and is warm. Warm up your angel food cake for about 10-15 seconds in your microwave. Add your compote right on top of the cake. Top with whipped topping and don’t hold back on all the shimmering, sparkling sprinkles!


This is Satine. But as a dessert.

What’s your favorite song on the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack? What’s your favorite scene or quote from the movie? Do you even like this movie? I know it’s like you either like it or you don’t, so let me know in the comments!

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. I love this movie so much! Singing a duet of Elephant Love Medley with my cabinbabe is one of my happiest memories of last summer. We also invented a brilliant Moulin Rouge drinking game where you have to drink every time they say the word ‘love’. It achieved the desired goal, but was definitely pretty hardcore.

    • The elephant love medley is my fav too! The second part right? On top of the elephant?

      I was made for lovin’ you baby
      You were made for lovin me

      The only way you’re lovin me baby
      Is to pay a lovely fee

      Just one night
      give me just one night

      There’s no way
      Cuz you can’t pay

  2. I love love love this movie; however, have the obnoxious need to sing every song loudly when I watch it and my wife finds this not so much romantic.


    I adore this movie so much, and I used to cry over it so much in junior high and a bit of high school.

    Recently my family, me, and my best friend have gotten my girlfriend into musicals (She can’t get the Into the Woods soundtrack out of her head) so this idea seems like a perfect one! Plus there are currently no plans for valentines… oh yes, I will do this!

  4. I adore this movie. It’s apparently my one favorite romantic movie that I don’t own. My other favorites are Big Fish, Across the Universe, and The Fifth Element.

    This dinner sounds delicious. My plans were to make meatloaf and potatoes this weekend. I already have chocolate peanut butter banana bread in the house as a dessert. It’s quite delicious and easy to make.

    My boyfriend is working this weekend so it’s just me and the cats. I’m not a Valentines Day person. I think people should be romantic often for no occasion. I hope everyone enjoys their weekends regardless of special plans.

  5. I LOVE this movie!!! I don’t know if I have a favorite quote. But, yes, I love the sexy Kyle Minogue fairy; she’s probably my favorite part of the movie. :) My other favorite parts are when Christian sings “Your Song” to Nicole Kidman and when when they debate during the “Love Song Medley” and the “Roxeanne” tango.

    Me and my friends watched this movie all the time in college.

    I recently had a friend who’s girlfriend wasn’t being very nice to her so I suggested Moulin Rouge to put her in a better mood and it worked.

    I personally think it’s Baz Luhrmann’s best film. :)

    P.S. If folks could support the finishing of my film, that would be sweet:

  6. Holy shit, I was literally just telling a friend how amazing this movie is when I came across this post.
    There are soooo many great songs in this movie, but I have to say the whole opening sequence when they first enter the Moulin Rouge is my favorite, it’s so great! “Like a virgin” kills me every time too xD
    But wow Yvonne, this post is perfection! I might just have to make this dinner for myself while I watch Moulin Rouge tomorrow night.

  7. awww yay!!!! I love this movie! (And the song “lady marmalade” was a key, key part in my queer self-awakening.)

  8. Tip to not get your George Foreman Grill so dirty: wrap the stek in aluminum foil before putting it on the grill

  9. By the way this is pure perfection, from the choice of food to the choice of movie. If this was an actual date with Yvonne I would be totally smitten.

  10. I love the MR soundtrack so hard. It was my introduction to P!nk and David Bowie, so for that I’ll always be grateful.

    I’m still not entirely clear on what Angel Food is but I really want to try that dessert! Looks amaaazing.

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