Babel. Anybody else see this movie?

I searched “Babel” (title only) here and turned up a thread on how to pronounce the word, a “which movie should I see” thread, a thread about universal translators, a thread about an “Enterprise” episode and 2 threads about the Tower of Babel.

I just saw the movie and so, naturally, I came here to see what others had said about it, but nothing - nada. Kind of surprising considering it is a great movie with an excellent cast, beautiful music, and is nominated for the best picture Oscar. So I’ll start this myself.

I thought the structure worked really well. The way it looped back to Brad Pitt’s phone call was terrific. Each story was so stressful that I was relieved each time it shifted to another story, where the stress only started all over again. The Mexican immigrant story was harrowing, but I wondered about the gun he had tucked in the back of his pants. That never came back up. The Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett portion was extremely moving to me and very well acted by everyone, especially Pitt. But the Japanese deaf mute girl’s story was the most haunting and I expect that final image will stick with me in the days to come.

Anyway, did I miss something? I really wanted to know what the note the Japanese girl gave the police detective said. I was a little let down when it never went back to that. Was it another instance like “what Bill Murray says to Scarlet Johnansen doesn’t really matter”, or was it connected to the circumstances of her mother’s death?

It was the dumbest “important” movie of the year.

I’m off to work so can’t write a lot now, but the fact is the movie did nothing but focus on a bunch of people who were as incompetent in basic life decisions as your standard run-of-the-mill meth addict.

I’m gonna quote what I wrote in the Golden Globes thread:

I thought it was a beautifully filmed, very well-acted steaming pile of pretentious garbage. It was nothing but a self-indulgent monument to human misery that was on-screen for far, far too long. And the Mexican maid evoked no sympathy at all from me, I got the impression I was supposed to be upset at the outcome, but all I kept thinking was that it was better for everyone that she be kept as far away from those children as possible. What a stupid bitch.

The only thing that could have made Babel something other than a tedious slog through a morass of spoonfed banality would have been to present the Japanese girl’s story in total silence. The audience would have been intrigued and involved, and it would have brought the emphasis to the actor and the camerawork. But instead the girl’s story just becomes another nauseating segment in this director’s half-assed attempt to imbue this kind of storytelling with some sort of incomprehensible social significance.

I thought it was an okay movie. I was impressed that all of the different story lines held my interest. Usually with that type of split-scene film I find myself caring more for one or 2 plotlines, and tired of others.
I agree there were plenty of stupid choices. Such as getting off the bus in the first place. Or once the housekeeper decided to cross the border, choosing to go back in the middle of the night driven by her drunk son. But, like I said, it kept my interest, not only because of the plots, but also because the settings were quite different than what I usually experience in the movies I watch.
Sure wasn’t a “happy” flick tho. I think when I was looking for something “good” that happened I decided upon the one character didn’t need her arm amputated. Whoopee!

I’ve had the unopened screener sitting on my DVD player for a month. Might get around to watching it in the next two weeks.

[sub]Yes, I’m a lazy Academy Awards voter. [/sub]

Was that the one with the naked Japanese chick?

I believe the term I used after I saw it was “a pompous, self-important piece of crap,” but yeah, I think we’re on the same wavelength.

Oh, and I hated the part of looping back to Brad Pitt’s phone call. I felt that it was just cheap emotional blackmail.

I think it was a great parallel to the biblical story of Babel. All the storylines involved some kind of “confusion of tongues”, either literally or symbolically. I thought it was great in that way.

Eh. I liked it but I think “confusion of tonques” doesn’t work as much as “character’s make bad decisions”

Yes they all make bad decisions to some extent (with the exception being the Japanese plot which you can’t call suicidal as simple ‘bad decision’.

I find almost all of their bad decisions, with the exception of the second half of the Mexico plot, to be reasonable.

I’m not going to spoiler box this because it is in the trailer.

Bard Pit takes a chance going to the village because three hours is a long fucking time to wait for medical attention when your wife is bleeding from a bullet hole in her torso. This is like counting going to Morocco in the first place as a bad decision.

FYI, earlier thread on Babel.

Do let us know if you’ve watched it, so I can take you out of my mental “Academy members whose voting rights should be revoked” file. (You’re in there with Bob Hoskins, Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine, so I guess you’re in good company, not that I know your real name or anything.)

I do count “going to Morocco in the first place” as a bad decision:

  1. His wife is obviously OCD with a cleanliness fixation.
  2. She even asks him “why did you drag us here?” Not exactly the sort of question you want your wife to ask during your trip to recharge the marriage, I can imagine. :wink:
  3. He went out of the country, across the Atlantic ocean, leaving his kids with an illegal immigrant. Actually, they both did.

See? The bad decisions these people made came even prior to the movie.

And she was shot in the shoulder. With a torso (gut) shot, she wouldn’t even had made it to the village.

It had a few touching scenes, and some good acting, but I was also underwhelmed. The pacing was lethargic, the stories didn’t tie together very cohesively, and the characters were not very sympathetic. The movie seemed to be going for some kind of grand, enlightening statement about the human condition, but all I got was, “bad stuff happens all over the world, and sometimes stuff is like… connected, dude!”

…Not a fan of Morocco huh?

That’s a gigantic jump. Her using hand sanitizer makes her OCD?

His mistake was thinking a vacation would save thier marriage. A mistake that thousands of people all over the world make everyday.

He left them with their long time nanny. A person they clearly trusted who had been involved in the day to day life of their children for literally their entire lives.
Her being illegal, even if he knew about her immigration status is immaterial.
He was not aware that she would attempt to take them out of the country and back in with her crazy nephew.

As a man whose wife has a touch of it, I can tell you that Cate’s mannerisms matched very close those of my wife’s when she’s having issues.

Her dirt fixation is mentioned a number of times in the film and, in fact, brought about the only moment of psychological suspense: when the doctor operated on her with the grimy towels and barely-sanitized (by flame, IIRC) medical instruments.

Her illegal status most certainly is material if you’re going to have her as your childrens guardian while you leave the country! Are you serious with that last one?

Any self-respecting parent would at least ask themselves “What is my illegal housekeeper going to do if one of my children needs official, government assistance, like a police officer or in medical emergencies? Will she think to do the ‘right’ thing aware that it’s going to cost her her existance in this country, or will she try to handle the problem ‘as best she can’, believing that assistance is denied her… and, therefore, my child.”

Dumb movie about people making dumb decisions even before the film started.

Thanks. I knew there had to be one. But if typing “Babel” into the antiquated SDMB search engine doesn’t turn it up, what’s a person to do?

One thing I learned about the search engine: Wait 2 minutes, then try again. Works every time.

Is there supposed to be an obvious answer to the first “what do you do?” in the large spoiler above? Because I don’t know what I should do in such a situation.


Don’t worry, I’ll watch it before I send in my ballot. Assuming I get my ballot in time.

Cool. You should start an “Ask the AMPAS member” thread. I have questions. Maybe using past years rather than this year as examples so you don’t get in trouble. At the very least, I’m curious what branch you belong to.