Babylon Parent Guide
It's crude, crass, and stuffed full of profanity, public sexual activity, and substance abuse. There's no glamour to be found here; just people behaving badly for a very long time.
Parent Movie Review
Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) is a star, and she knows it. People are either born stars or not, and she knows she is destined for greatness. The only trouble is, no one else knows it…yet. But once she gets into a raging party at a Hollywood producer’s estate (with assistance from one of the domestic help, Manny, played byDiego Calva), her star quality becomes apparent.
Soon Nellie lands a job working on a silent picture about a wild, sexual, and generally unhinged young woman, requiring very little acting on her part. Meanwhile, Manny has ingratiated himself with leading man Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), who helps him find bigger and better jobs in the motion picture industry. In the general madness of the early film world, the personal excesses and idiosyncrasies of the stars and directors is seen as part of the charm. But when “talkies” come on the scene, and the budgets get bigger, suddenly Hollywood starts to change - and if the stars of old can’t change with the times, they’ll be left behind.
You know that scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex’s eyes are held open while he is forced to watch montages of violent crime? That’s exactly what watching Babylon feels like. It’s everything and the kitchen sink thrown directly into your poor, aching retinas nearly non-stop for three hours. This assault of visual maximalism is extremely draining and drags out to the point where it feels punitive. The glitz, glamour, and public sex of old Hollywood are put on display again, and again, and again, until you’re left with an absolutely staggering headache and a firm desire never to set foot in a movie theater again.
And this complaint is from someone who likes movies, remember. I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of industry navel-gazing because I think films have the capacity to be meaningful art, or at least engaging entertainment. Babylon is neither. This is a death march through the late 1920’s with a bunch of dissolute, narcissistic alcoholics for tour guides. When they’re not busy snorting lines of cocaine off prostitutes, selling their morals for a few bucks, or getting outrageously drunk and having sex in hallways during Gatsby-esque orgiastic parties, they’re whining and being self-obsessed. For moviegoers, it’s dismal.
Director Damien Chazelle also managed to cram 171 f-bombs into an unforgivable 189 minutes. Rome took less time to rise and fall than this film took to commit the profanity equivalent of the firebombing of Dresden on an audience. There’s also frequent nudity, sex, graphic sexual language, extensive drinking, smoking, and drug use, and a handful of bloody murders to round the whole business off. So no (to answer a question no person in possession of their faculties would ever ask) this is not a good choice for family entertainment. Or personal entertainment, for that matter, unless your idea of cinematic fun opens with a tight close-up of an elephant’s rectum as it expels a frankly unlikely volume of excrement. If you think that’s entertaining, I can guarantee that we’re never going to share a box of popcorn in a theater.Directed by Damien Chazelle. Starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart. Running time: 188 minutes. Theatrical release December 23, 2022. Updated December 22, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Babylon rated R? Babylon is rated R by the MPAA for strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, bloody violence, drug use, and pervasive language.
Violence: People are bloodily shot and stabbed on several occasions. There are several suicides and attempted suicides. Several graphic threats are mentioned. There are infrequent scenes involving violence against animals. There is some nightmarish imagery.
Sexual Content: People are frequently seen nude and engaged in public sexual behaviour, some involving breast and buttock nudity. I’m not even going to bother describing it since this is a family website and anything I try to discuss would be obscene.
Profanity: There are 181 sexual expletives (some used in aggressive or sexual contexts), 26 scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters and other adults are constantly shown drinking, smoking, and taking cocaine. There are references to opiates and pharmaceutical abuse.
Page last updated December 22, 2022