A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, tracing the rise and fall of multiple characters in an era of unbridled decadence and depravity during Hollywood's transition from silent films and to sound films in the late 1920s.

  • Released: 2022-12-23
  • Runtime: 188 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Stars: Diego Calva, Cici Lau, James Wellington, Trisha Simmons, Armando Cosio, Taylor Nichols, Todd Giebenhain, Bregje Heinen, Li Jun Li, Kaia Gerber, Frederick Koehler, Vanessa Bednar, Douglas Fruchey, Aurielle Simmons, Margot Robbie, Jimmy Ortega, Circus-Szalewski, Samara Weaving, Katia Gomez, Hayley Huntley
  • Director: Damien Chazelle
  • lascarv - 4 June 2024
    A film made for the people in the industry
    This is a film that is so deep, it is hard to see how it would have possibly ever connect with wide audiences. It is basically an art-house film on steriods made for the people in the industry like myself. I loved the metaphor and the fact that it is an omage to how stories shape culture and understanding. I felt everything the main character felt, the highs and the lows. It is the story of most people within the industry. Personally, I loved it, if you've worked in the industry it is hard to see how you won't. However if you're from outside the industry and not philosophically inclined, don't watch it. It will feel frustrating when you get the same take due to sound for 5 min straight.
  • shakercoola - 15 April 2024
    Dazzling, manic, overplayed ode to movieland
    An American epic historical black-comedy drama; A story about the rise and fall of multiple characters during Hollywood's transition from silent to sound films in the late 1920s. The burgeoning era of the U. S. film industry was no less prurient, harsh, or nasty on its stars than modern-day Tinseltown, which is why this makes for an interesting background for Babylon's theme: people subjected to rapid change, handling excess and their own personal indulgence and suffering to achieve personal success. The background is provocative and tragicomic, but the portrayal of excess leads to too many character stories that don't lead anywhere; it pounds us with lavish Felliniesque scenes, sweeping camera shots, high-spirit music which test the patience in the long sequences. Also, it doesn't quite capture the period - over-embellished stage sets look too idealistic, costumes and props too ornate and the self-entitled way characters speak sounded more like 2020s than 1930s. There's not much to care about either, only Brad Pitt's Jack Conrad is relateable. All in all, it dazzles and shocks to please and there is a definite feel of good intention to show us the magic of the movies, but lacks cohesion at times.
  • nije-mala - 7 February 2024
    Much ado...
    So I just finished watching Babylon.

    I really liked it but I hated it. I was bored but I was entertained. It was an emotional rollercoaster and it was plain like the Great Salt Lake. It was clear but it was confusing. It was happy and it was sad.

    OMG what a mess!! Not necessarily and not always a bad mess, just a mess - there's a lot going on in this movie, and throughout this complicated web of moving pictures and sounds comes through a story, I think, but I'm not sure.

    The whole movie rests on a feeble script, and that's not good, but there's some decent acting, half-decent cinematography (kudos to the crew for managing to navigate through in tight closed quarters with hundreds of naked and clantily clothed people around) and some absolutely fantastic music! In fact, I rated this movie 4 stars, but added 2 for the score - it's mesmerizing! Just do me a favour and be patient through the entire credits, at the very end you'll hear Justin Hurowitz's New York!

    Big budget, big actors, huuuge production, but really not much to write home about. Did I waste 3 hours of my life? Not really, yes for sure. Confusing.
  • evanston_dad - 11 January 2023
    Way Too Much-Ness
    It's painfully ironic to me that Damien Chazelle would choose to package a love letter to movies and the pleasures of movie watching in a 3+ hour film that's completely inaccessible to the average moviegoer and that no one is going out to see.

    There's a little taped intro before the film where Margot Robbie and Diego Calva thank us for coming and experiencing "Babylon" with an "energized" audience. I and the one other dude in the theater with me really appreciated that message.

    "Babylon" has some moments that shine, but on average it's a bomb. It's loud, hyper, and obnoxiously self-aware of its own cuteness. It's also weirdly determined to be disgusting and repellant, which again, who is this movie for? In the first minutes of the film we see a guy get pooped on by an elephant in gory detail, and a second later see a fat dude being peed on at a party. What is with the bodily fluid fetish in this film, and was it really this common in 1924 Hollywood for people to be running around naked?

    But this film is only taking place in 1924 in theory. "Babylon" doesn't establish any sense of time or place. Margot Robbie's hair and clothes look straight out of "Boogie Nights," which Chazelle's movie spent most of its running time reminding me of to his detriment. Robbie doesn't give a performance so much as an endurance test. She should win an award for toughing through the awful things the movie does to her. The nadir of the film is a party scene that ends with her smearing food all over her face and then projectile puking all over the guests (Again....bodily fluids).

    If you happen to find Brad Pitt charming anyway, you'll probably find him charming in this, but he just does his usual Brad Pitt thing, which doesn't do much for me.

    My favorite parts of the movie were the scenes showing movies actually being made. They unfortunately also reminded me of a better movie, "The Stunt Man," but they were the only scenes in the film that made me feel alive to it.

    Mostly "Bablyon" would have been better if it had ever calmed down and stopped trying so hard.

    Grade: B-
  • brownandrew4 - 7 January 2023
    This movie rules, but we need a studio cut
    Babylon had some moments that were better than every other movie I've seen this year, they just needed to cut it down about 20 minutes. It's all about hollywood and the beauty of filmmaking and it gets a little too big for its britches in some places, leading to some unfortunate self-seriousness. The whole thing is apparently a tragic rewrite of Singin' in the Rain and the technical accomplishment on display in this film is astounding. The first hour is all-time great, truly, deeply moving as well as visually astounding. The question when walking out of the theater is whether the sublime moments outweigh the unnecessary length. It's crazy for some random guy to give notes to maybe the most successful 37-year-old director in history but (who cares) he needs a trusted editor who he'll let make some cuts. All the pieces of a classic are there, but unfortunately the fluff distracts. We need like a studio cut for this movie lol.
  • cardsrock - 4 January 2023
    Excess is the name of the game
    Whether it be orgies, showcasing various bodily fluids, plot threads, or the runtime of the film, Damien Chazelle is fully unrestrained in his latest film. La La Land and Whiplash are some of my favorite films and I'm a big fan of Chazelle's directorial style. He shows flashes of that brilliance often throughout Babylon, but does indulge in his most extreme tendencies as well in this modern Hollywood epic.

    There is a lot I liked here. The opening sequence is a sight to behold and had me mesmerized with its vibrant energy. The film chugs along at a good pace for the next two hours to the point I really didn't feel the runtime for most of it. It's the last hour or so where Chazelle loses the story a bit. There were several instances where I thought the film was over, but another scene would pop up next. The runtime really feels unnecessary and there's honestly whole plot lines that could be cut out that wouldn't affect the film.

    Justin Hurwitz has composed another terrific score (with some nice hints of La La Land) and the photography, costumes, and production design are all stellar. Outside of some shoddy editing, especially a bizarre movie montage at the end that really did not gel, the technical aspects of the film are quite an achievement.

    Chazelle really needed someone to tell him no with this film. Some better editing combined with some self-restraint and this would be much closer to the epic masterpiece status he's clearly aiming for. As it stands, it's a pretty entertaining tale of excess and fame in early years of Hollywood.
  • ibrahim_yousif - 3 January 2023
    Pointless and bloated
    The movie follow Manny career who wants to be a director and started to get to know Jack "Brad Pitt" who helps him get to know the industry.

    The movie is bloated with pointless and long scenes just that don't really mean anything and pushed too hard to be a 3+ hours movie with silly humor that is really not funny at all.

    The acting of Brand Pitt and Margot Robbie is amazing, however I feel that this movie was far below their league and status.

    I wouldn't recommend you to sit 3 hours in movies to watch it, I would recommend you wait when it hits home and watch it so you can fast forward and pause and return next day if need be.
  • ariannazambrano - 1 January 2023
    3hours I will never get back
    1 star per hour. I enjoy multilevel depth in a film. The star-studded cast was a draw. Toby McGuire was my favorite and least favorite part.

    I enjoyed the ending, I'm very familiar with the film, singing in the rain. It did pull sparks from the film, singing in the rain, so it was a great ending to see it's loop closed.

    It starts slow and gross then with a bang and draws you in. It's giving messy and a "the great gatsby" party energy.

    Margot Robbie better get an Oscar nod. She consumed the screen and you're routing for her the whole film. They way her story ended was meek.

    Oh yeah and Brad Pitt was in it too.
  • brentsbulletinboard - 1 January 2023
    You'll Love It or Hate It
    "Babylon" is the kind of movie that most viewers are either going to love or hate. I, for one, am one of those who's squarely in the middle. Writer-director Damien Chazelle's outrageous, pften-hilarious, visually dazzling epic about the early days of Hollywood and the excesses that typified an emerging industry during the Roaring Twenties (and the attempts to rein them in during the increasingly conservative 1930s) tells the stories of a number of rising on-screen and off-screen stars seeking to make their way while wrestling with personal and professional demons, as well as the advances (and challenges) in using the new cinematic technologies of the era. In some regards, I like to think of this opus as one that draws from a variety of vastly different cinematic influences, most notably the curious combination of Peter Bogdanovich's "Nickelodeon" (1976) and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" (1997), with, of course, the musical aspects from Chazelle's own "La La Land" (2016) (despite the inherently more tawdry - and more engaging - nature of this project). Because of the narrative's extensive breadth in terms of time frame, characters, themes and story threads, it's not surprising to see how this offering would clock in with a runtime of 3+ hours (though there certainly are segments, such as the film's 30-minute opening party sequence, that could have been scaled back without losing anything). With that said, however, ironically, the picture is surprisingly well paced for one of this length, thanks to the vivid visuals, superb production design, and excellent performances of a great ensemble cast, including Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Li Jun Li and Jovan Adepo, along with fine supporting roles by Jean Smart, Tobey Maguire and Eric Roberts, among others. However, considering everything that's been crammed into this arguably overstuffed package, there are some shortcomings worth noting, such as occasionally undercooked character development and a number of visual excesses that more than push the boundaries of acceptable taste for a mainstream film (their inclusion as a nod to the picture's title notwithstanding). Nevertheless, as this release also clearly shows, we wouldn't have the industry that's grown, evolved and matured over the years were it not for the ragtag pioneers of this period, despite their individual challenges and their succumbing to the temptations present in this often-dirty business. In my view, "Babylon" is certainly deserving of much of the recognition it has earned, even if some of it may at times seem questionable or misplaced. Either way, there's no denying that this is quite the cinematic rollercoaster ride, something for which movies themselves are often the ideal vehicle.
  • Popcorn-And-Twizzlers - 30 December 2022
    Licorice Pizza - meets The Great Gatsby - meets the Netflix series Hollywood - meets the 2000s computer game The Movies
    "This film made me want to play the 2000s computer game The Movies by Lionshead. When are they coming back out with that game? I need it in my life."

    FINAL TAKEAWAYS: Overall #Babylon gives Licorice Pizza - meets The Great Gatsby - meets the Netflix series Hollywood - meets the 2000s game The Movies.

    * * * Theme & Story: A- Pacing: A- Character: A Overall "Paper" Score: A-

    * * * Entertainment Factors General Public: Don't Watch Drama Comedy Fans: Interesting Enough Experience Seekers (Outlandishness & Drama): Worth the $$$ Overall "Viewing Experience" Score: Don't Rush

    * * *

    This is a yet another film where my entertainment factor isn't a reflection of my personal feelings. When the film ended, I found myself smiling. There was something special about this movie for me, so I appreciated and enjoyed it. entertainment factor is never just for me. It's me taking into consideration every type of socio-economic viewer who is planning to spend their money and give up hours of their time.

    This was nicely contained blast, for me; and though I LOVE me some Margot, and enjoyed her here, something in me just felt like she tapped into her Harley Quinn persona and it has me wondering if that "voice" is her go-to "American" voice (since she's Australian)... ... ...

    OTHER THOUGHTS: Highlights: Brad Pitt's performance (possibly one his best for me), Diego Calva's performance, the Javon Adepo and "stage light" scene and performance, hell...all of the main performances, Lady Fay's P**sy song, thematic followthrough, Margot Robbie, character development, the band music, PJ Byrne and that first talkie production scene, & Acts Two and Three.

    Could've Been Better: More marinating with that "love story" component.