A scientist called Tommy Creo (Hugh Jackman) wrestles with his research, desperately trying to find a cure for the brain tumour that is killing his wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz). She, however, is coming to accept her impending end as part of a universal cycle of death and rebirth. Unable to truly communicate this peace to her husband, she gives him the manuscript of the book she is writing, The Fountain, and asks him to finish it for her.
Opening the book, Tommy reads of a Spanish knight who, under orders from his besieged Queen, sets off on a quest to find the fabled Tree of Life. Legend has it that whoever drinks the sap of this tree will live forever. Driven by the promise of an eternal marriage to the Queen upon his return, the knight travels deep into the forests of South America and finds himself standing at the gate to Eden, which is guarded by an angel with a flaming sword.
Meanwhile, perhaps somewhere far in the future, another Tommy is travelling towards an exploding nebula with the dying Tree of Life, hoping to regenerate it there. In all three stories he faces the same struggle: should he surrender to the inevitability of death, or continue to chase immortality?
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