After the curtain closes, Satine succumbs to tuberculosis. Before she dies, Christian and Satine affirm their love and she tells him to write their story.
The film stars Nicole Kidman as Satine, a star dancer who has a deadly secret; she is dying of tuberculosis. This is not a secret from the audience, which learns it early on, but from Christian (Ewan McGregor), the would-be writer who loves her. Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), the dwarf artist, lives above Christian, and one day comes crashing through the ceiling of their flimsy tenement, sparking a friendship and collaboration: They will write a show to spotlight Satine's brilliance, as well as "truth, beauty, freedom and love."