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"BABEL"
(2006) (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Heavy Extreme Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Various strangers' lives are affected and become intertwined by an act of violence.
PLOT:
Richard (BRAD PITT) and Susan Jones (CATE BLANCHETT) are an unhappily married couple traveling in Morocco trying to get over the recent loss of one of their kids. Unbeknownst to them, sheepherder Abdullah (MUSTAPHA RACHIDI) has recently purchased a high-powered rifle from Hassan (ABDELKADER BARA) for his boys Ahmed (SAID TARCHANI) and Yussef (BOUBKER AIT EL CAID) to protect their herd from hungry jackals.

As the Jones' tour bus ends up traveling near the family's grazing grounds, Yussef -- when not enjoying a peek at his sister, Zohra (WAHIBA SAHMI) -- decides to test the rifle's range, resulting in Susan accidentally being shot and badly wounded. Desperate to get her help, Richard has the bus divert to a nearby village where he tries to get help from the far-off American embassy.

At the same time, Mexican immigrant Amelia (ADRIANA BARRAZA) is a housekeeper and nanny in San Diego caring for siblings Debbie (ELI FANNING) and Mike (NATHAN GAMBLE). Her son is getting married south of the border, and unable to find anyone to baby-sit the kids, she and her reckless nephew Santiago (GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL) drive them into Mexico for the festivities, unaware of the difficulties they'll face getting back.

Meanwhile, Chieko (RINKO KIKUCHI) is a Japanese teen who enjoys hanging out with her friends, but feels isolated not only by being deaf, but also by the recent death of her mother that's left her father, Yasujiro (KÔJI YAKUSHO), emotionally distant and often not home.

With that single shot from Yussef's rifle, all of their lives become intertwined and forever affected by that act of violence.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested it, but unless anyone else is a fan of someone in the cast or the film's director, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BRAD PITT plays an American traveling in Morocco with his wife following the sudden death of one of their kids. Now in a strained marriage, things get worse when he must contend with Susan being shot and trying to care for her in a remote village that lacks proper medical facilities. He uses strong profanity.
  • CATE BLANCHETT plays his wife who's also unhappy in their relationship, but ends up being shot from a distance by Yussef. From that point on, she tries to stay alive.
  • ADRIANA BARRAZA plays a Mexican immigrant in San Diego who works as a housekeeper and nanny for two young kids. When she can't find anyone to watch them during her son's wedding, she and Santiago take them across the border into Mexico without permission from their parents. She must then contend with things getting hairy as they try to return to the States.
  • GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL plays her reckless nephew who endangers their lives by driving drunk back to the border, eluding the border patrol, and then abandoning them in the middle of the desert. He smokes and uses strong profanity.
  • ELI FANNING and NATHAN GAMBLE play the two young kids in Amelia's care who are frightened by what occurs.
  • BOUBKER AIT EL CAID plays a young sheepherder who enjoys peeking at his sister when she's changing her clothes, and causes a world of trouble when he test fires his new rifle at a tour bus, seriously wounding Susan. He then tries to cover that up.
  • SAID TARCHANI plays his older brother who was with him at the time of the shooting and similarly tries to cover up their act.
  • WAHIBA SAHMI plays their sister who doesn't mind allowing Yussef to watch her change her clothes.
  • MUSTAPHA RACHIDI plays their traditional father who can't believe how his children are behaving.
  • RINKO KIKUCHI plays a deaf Japanese teen who's distraught by her mother's recent death that's left her isolated from her now distant father, as well as others' reaction to her deafness, including boys who lose interest in her because of that. As a result, she becomes a bit of an exhibitionist and tries to seduce a policeman who needs to speak to her father.
  • KÔJI YAKUSHO plays her father who's become emotionally and physically distant following his wife's recent death.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 15 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, a boy is seen masturbating after having watched his older teenage sister partially undressed, a teen girl walks out in front of a stranger nude in her home (full frontal and rear views) and is seen that way again, while she earlier flashes some teen boys with her bare crotch and comes on sexually to her dentist.

    Violence consists of several people being shot (one dies, the other lives but is severely wounded), some beating by police and other hitting, and a chicken having its head spun off. Some of that has bloody results, and such scenes and other moments might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.

    All sorts of tense family material is present, as are varying degrees of bad attitudes. Characters drink and/or smoke, while several instances of drug use also occur. Finally, some of that and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are full strobe effects in a nightclub.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film (sometimes a lot).


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see beer and champagne at a wedding reception, with only the former being seen consumed (by Santiago and others).
  • An older woman lights up a long pipe, takes a puff or two, and then gives that to Susan who also takes some puffs (apparently it's a narcotic of some sort as it makes Susan, who's badly wounded, relax).
  • A teen or early twenty-something guy gives Chieko and her friend some whiskey (they both drink it) and then some pills, one of which Chieko takes (while the teen and his friend only drink the whiskey). We then see several scenes of her reacting to the combination (looking high, while we also see visual representations of a drugged state -- both from her as well as just in general).
  • Amelia's son (who drinks) says that Santiago is too drunk to drive her and the kids back to the U.S. Santiago says, "Drunk my ass" and then proceeds to drive them, although he starts to fall asleep behind the wheel at night and nearly runs off the road.
  • A cop asks for another shot of what's presumably alcohol.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A shot fired by Yussef (from a long distance) pierces a bus window and strikes Susan in the neck, causing a lot of blood on her skin and clothing, and Richard and others to panic.
  • Mike and Debbie help local Mexican kids catch some chickens (thinking it's a game). A man then takes one of them, rapidly spins it around by the neck, and then twists the head off, with bloody results. The headless chicken then runs off and Mike looks shocked.
  • Back on the tour bus, we see blood on the floor as well as more on Susan there and when Richard hurriedly carries her into a village (where her top is soaked in blood).
  • We see the bloody bullet hole wound in Susan's neck, and a local doctor says he's going to have to sew up the wound to stop her from bleeding to death. She says no, yells and tries to stop them, but Richard holds her down (saying it has to be done) and we then see a close-up view of the needle going through her skin (as she screams and writhes about).
  • The side of Hassan's face is bloody from where the local police have beat him. One cop then twice kicks Hassan in the side (as the man is bound and seated on the ground).
  • A teen is shot in the leg (with bloody results on his clothing), and then shot in the back (with more bloody results).
  • We see Susan's dried blood on Richard's hand and clothing.
  • Susan tells Richard that she peed her pants as she couldn't hold it in (after being severely wounded), and then says she has to go again. He then positions a pan under her as she lies on her side, and we hear the sound of her urinating.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Yussef and his brother question Hassan's statement of how far the rifle can fire, so they do some target shooting at rocks and such. When they spot a bus from a very long distance, Ahmed tries shooting it, followed by Yussef. The latter thinks he missed since nothing happened, but after a few moments, the bus pulls to a stop and the boys are scared and run away.
  • Since it's her son's wedding and she has no one to watch the kids, Amelia takes Mike and Debbie to Mexico (across the border, without the parents' permission or knowledge) to attend the wedding.
  • Upset with a call during a volleyball match, Chieko gives the umpire "the finger" while also making the "f you" gesture with her arms.
  • In the locker room, a teen jokingly says that Chieko is in a bad mood since no one has "f*cked her yet." Chieko then sarcastically tells that girl that she's going to "f*ck" that girl's dad to improve her mood.
  • Chieko is mad and bitter around her dad, with him saying he misses the girl's mother (his wife) too, adding that he's doing the best he can.
  • Once he realizes Chieko and her friend are deaf, a boy (who initially showed interest in them) walks away, back to his waiting friends who are laughing over that.
  • Other tourists have a bad attitude about Richard's predicament (his wife having been shot and badly wounded, and their tour bus then going to a local village where the tourists don't want to be and thus complain and threaten to leave).
  • While in a dentist's chair, Chieko twice licks the male dentist's face before taking his hand and placing it to her crotch in her short skirt (she presumably still isn't wear any panties). He then stops her and orders her to leave.
  • We see Yussef and his brother hiding the rifle used in the shooting.
  • When the local police (who earlier beat up Hassan) stop Yussef and his brother (on their way to see the boys' father -- although the cops don't realize that), Yussef lies to them about where his father lives, and he and his brother then race home to inform their dad. One cop tells Yussef that if the latter is lying to him, he'll return and cut off their "balls."
  • Amelia's son (who drinks) says that Santiago is too drunk to drive her and the kids back to the U.S. Santiago says, "Drunk my ass" and then proceeds to drive them, although he starts to fall asleep behind the wheel at night and nearly runs off the road.
  • Border patrol guards become suspicious of Santiago and Amelia trying to bring the kids back across the U.S. border. One guard has his hand on his gun, and when Santiago is told to drive up to another section for additional checking, he guns the car, ramming another, before taking off and getting around the checkpoint. He then blasts down the road, passes a vehicle at high speed (barely getting back over to avoid another vehicle) and then sees the police behind him (from a distance). He then takes a dirt road, drives a bit into the middle of nowhere and tells Amelia and the scared kids to get out (giving them just a flashlight). He then leaves, abandoning them there.
  • Amelia is deported for being in the U.S. illegally.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Yussef and his brother question Hassan's statement of how far the rifle can fire, so they do some target shooting at rocks and such. When they spot a bus from a very long distance, Ahmed tries shooting it, followed by Yussef. The latter thinks he missed since nothing happened, but after a few moments, the bus pulls to a stop and the boys are scared and run away.
  • Since we earlier saw Yussef firing upon a bus from a distance, we feel dread as we see Richard and Susan inside a bus (as we anticipate the shooting).
  • A shot fired by Yussef (from a long distance) pierces a bus window and strikes Susan in the neck, causing a lot of blood on her skin and clothing, and Richard and others to panic.
  • Mike and Debbie help local Mexican kids catch some chickens (thinking it's a game). A man then takes one of them, rapidly spins it around by the neck, and then twists the head off, with bloody results. The headless chicken then runs off and Mike looks shocked.
  • Back on the tour bus, we see blood on the floor as well as more on Susan there and when Richard hurriedly carries her into a village (where her top is soaked in blood).
  • Richard tells an older local woman to keep pressure on Susan's bullet wound in her neck and she agrees. But when Richard leaves (to make a call for help), the woman stops, gets up and shoos some kids away (thus making us think that Susan is going to bleed to death).
  • We see the bloody bullet hole wound in Susan's neck, and a local doctor says he's going to have to sew up the wound to stop her from bleeding to death. She says no, yells and tries to stop them, but Richard holds her down (saying it has to be done) and we then see a close-up view of the needle going through her skin (as she screams and writhes about).
  • Local police arrive at Hassan's place, push him to the ground, and hold guns to his head (thinking he's the shooter who shot Susan). The lead cop then punches Hassan in the face.
  • Police spot Yussef and his brother and their father up on a rocky hill and then fire upon them, forcing them to take cover behind the rocks. Ahmed is shot in the leg (with bloody results on his clothing), while Yussef grabs the rifle and fires back at the cops, hitting one in the arm. The cops continue firing at them, with Ahmed trying to flee and being shot in the back (with more bloody results), while Abdullah tries to tend to him as Yussef takes and smashes the rifle, followed by giving himself up.
  • Amelia's son (who drinks) says that Santiago is too drunk to drive her and the kids back to the U.S. Santiago says, "Drunk my ass" and then proceeds to drive them, although he starts to fall asleep behind the wheel at night and nearly runs off the road.
  • Border patrol guards become suspicious of Santiago and Amelia trying to bring the kids back across the U.S. border. One guard has his hand on his gun, and when Santiago is told to drive up to another section for additional checking, he guns the car, ramming another, before taking off and getting around the checkpoint. He then blasts down the road, passes a vehicle at high speed (barely getting back over to avoid another vehicle) and then sees the police behind him (from a distance). He then takes a dirt road, drives a bit into the middle of nowhere and tells Amelia and the scared kids to get out (giving them just a flashlight). He then leaves, abandoning them there.
  • Richard hears and then chases after the tour bus as it pulls out of the village, abandoning him and his wife there.
  • Amelia and the young kids stumble through the hot desert without any water or idea of where to go (Amelia carries Debbie, but eventually tells them to stay put as she looks for help). That scares Mike, but Amelia leaves and finally flags down a border patrol agent who subsequently arrests her, making her think the kids will die.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound, or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Hassan sells Abdullah a rifle (to be used by his boys to shoot jackals while herding the family's animals).
  • Yussef and his brother question Hassan's statement of how far the rifle can fire, so they do some target shooting at rocks and such. When they spot a bus from a very long distance, Ahmed tries shooting it, followed by Yussef. The latter thinks he missed since nothing happened, but after a few moments, the bus pulls to a stop and the boys are scared and run away.
  • Santiago fires a pistol into the air to celebrate at a wedding reception (startling Mike and Debbie).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Don't you f*cking lie to me," "Oh f*ck that," "F*ck you," "M*therf*cker," "F*cking gringo asshole," "This is your f*cked up country," "F*cking do something," "At least he'll scare the sh*t out of them," "I don't give a sh*t," "(You) idiot," "Balls" (testicles), "Drunk my ass" and "We're all screwed."
  • Yussef does some target practice shooting at a distant tour bus far below him.
  • Upset with a call during a volleyball match, Chieko gives the umpire "the finger" while also making the "f you" gesture with her arms.
  • Chieko's friend has a pierced nostril.
  • To get back at a boy who ditched her and her friend for being deaf, Chieko flashes her bare crotch at the teen and his friends (from under a table and so that only they see that).
  • A miscellaneous guy has a stud in his chin.
  • Mike and Debbie help local Mexican kids catch some chickens (thinking it's a game). A man then takes one of them, rapidly spins it around by the neck, and then twists the head off, with bloody results. The headless chicken then runs off and Mike looks shocked.
  • Amelia's son (who drinks) says that Santiago is too drunk to drive her and the kids back to the U.S. Santiago says, "Drunk my ass" and then proceeds to drive them, although he starts to fall asleep behind the wheel at night and nearly runs off the road.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A gunshot through a tour bus window might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A little bit of ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 15 "f" words (2 used sexually, 1 used with "mother"), 2 "s" words, 3 asses (2 used with "hole"), 1 damn and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "For the love of God," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see young Yussef doing a Peeping Tom bit with a teenage girl in his family. He peeks through a wall and sees her undressing (she's facing away from the camera so he and we see her bare back as she removes her top), but she spots him and doesn't seem to mind. Yussef's older brother does, however, and yanks him away. Later, however, Yussef finds a private place outside and drops his pants. We think he's going to go to the bathroom, but he starts masturbating (we don't see the actual act or nudity, but do see arm movement as well as his pleasured facial reaction). The sound of some gunshots, however, interrupt him before he's done.
  • In the locker room, we see a teen in her bra and short skirt, and she jokingly says that Chieko is in a bad mood since no one has "f*cked her yet." Chieko then sarcastically tells that girl that she's going to "f*ck" that girl's dad to improve her mood.
  • A video briefly shows some Japanese teens in short skirts.
  • Upset at some boys who laughed at her and her friend being deaf, Chieko removes her panties (in the bathroom), telling her friend that now those boys "are going to meet the real hairy monster." The camera then focuses on her and her friend's butts in their short skirts at they walk out (we can just see the very bottom of Chieko's bare butt). After getting those boys' attention while seated, Chieko then spreads her legs in that short skirt (under a table), revealing her pubic hair, thus tantalizing them.
  • We see a split-second view of a large outdoor statue that might show non-explicit nudity.
  • While in a dentist's chair, Chieko twice licks the male dentist's face before taking his hand and placing it to her crotch in her short skirt (she presumably still isn't wear any panties). He then stops her and orders her to leave.
  • We see Chieko in her bra as she's changing clothes (talking to her friend on her cell phone -- we also see brief footage on TV of a girl in her bra and panties). Chieko later mentions liking one of two cops who came looking for her dad, with Chieko's friend asking if she had put on panties. Chieko then flashes her friend to show she hasn't (we might see pubic hair again) and her friend partially does the same (but not all of the way).
  • Yussef's brother tells their father that Yussef spies on Zohra and that she lets him.
  • We see Amelia and a man passionately kissing in a room near a wedding reception.
  • We briefly see a mannequin torso wearing lingerie (bra and panties).
  • Seen under full strobe effects, Chieko's friend and a guy they met passionately make out on the dance floor, much to Chieko's dismay.
  • Chieko has a young cop come up to her dad's place (supposedly to tell him something about her dad), but after some brief pleasantries, she returns to the room, standing fully nude in front of him (we see everything from the front and back). The cop is tempted (he caresses her face as she does his, while she also takes his hand and places it on her bare breast), but he eventually stops.
  • When Chieko gives the cop's coat back to him, she again stands fully nude (we see her bare butt and side of her bare breast).
  • We see Chieko's full rear nudity as she stands on the balcony when her dad comes home, walks out to her, and puts his arms around her (to console her, nothing incestuous).
  • SMOKING
  • Santiago smokes a few times, while a number of minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in various scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Young Mike and Debbie are afraid to go to bed (thinking the same thing that happened to their dead brother Sam will happen to them), but Amelia tries to reassure them that only happens to very small babies (implying the brother died of sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Richard and Susan don't seem happy together on their bus tour through Morocco (with one asking why they're there). Some of their strife presumably stems from having lost their child (presumably to sudden death infant syndrome), but also talk of him having left in the past (but we don't know if that means an affair, or just physically and/ore emotionally leaving). She says he's the reason she's stressed, and he doesn't think she's ever going to forgive him.
  • For most of the film, Richard worries about Susan after she's shot in the neck and looks like she might not make it.
  • Chieko is mad and bitter around her dad, with him saying he misses the girl's mother (his wife) too, adding that he's doing the best he can.
  • Yussef and his brother hear from their father a report that terrorists killed an American tourist and the boys are scared about that and him finding out it was them.
  • Yussef and his brother fight (rolling on the ground) over what's occurred.
  • Yussef's brother tells their father that Yussef spies on Zohra and that she lets him (all as Abdullah learns that his boys were involved in the shooting of the American tourist).
  • A man informs Amelia that his wife passed away ten years ago (when he asks her to dance and she wonders what his wife will think about that).
  • Abdullah slaps Zohra, grabs Yussef by his hair, and then slaps Ahmed while mad at all of them for what he's learned about them.
  • Chieko tells a cop that her mother jumped to her death (off their balcony) in the past, but we later learn (from her father) that she (the mother, his wife) shot herself to death.
  • A father grieves over his dead son (who was shot to death).
  • A surgeon tells Richard that they're going to have to operate on Susan and that she might lose her arm (due to clotting). When Richard asks if she'll be okay, the surgeon pauses and then walks away to perform the surgery (not seen).
  • Richard cries when he talks to his young son on the phone (the impact of everything finally hitting him).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How individual events can have a domino effect for the participants and others who wouldn't otherwise seem involved.
  • Chieko trying to find some sort of self-worth by sexually coming on to male teens and adults.
  • Dealing with premature familial deaths.
  • Young Mike and Debbie are afraid to go to bed (thinking the same thing that happened to their dead brother Sam will happen to them), but Amelia tries to reassure them that only happens to very small babies (implying the brother died of sudden infant death syndrome).
  • We hear news that the U.S. classified Susan's shooting as an act of terrorism.
  • A teen or early twenty-something guy gives Chieko and her friend some whiskey (they both drink it) and then some pills, one of which Chieko takes (while the teen and his friend only drink the whiskey). We then see several scenes of her reacting to the combination (looking high, while we also see visual representations of a drugged state -- both from her as well as just in general).
  • Amelia is deported for being in the U.S. illegally.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Catching Yussef doing a Peeping Tom bit with Zohra, Abdullah yanks him away from the hole in the wall and throws him to the ground.
  • A shot fired by Yussef (from a long distance) pierces a bus window and strikes Susan in the neck, causing a lot of blood on her skin and clothing, and Richard and others to panic.
  • Mike and Debbie help local Mexican kids catch some chickens (thinking it's a game). A man then takes one of them, rapidly spins it around by the neck, and then twists the head off, with bloody results. The headless chicken then runs off and Mike looks shocked.
  • Local police arrive at Hassan's place, push him to the ground, and hold guns to his head (thinking he's the shooter who shot Susan). The lead cop then punches Hassan in the face.
  • Yussef and his brother fight (rolling on the ground) over what's occurred.
  • Abdullah slaps Zohra, grabs Yussef by his hair, and then slaps Ahmed while mad at all of them for what he's learned about them.
  • The side of Hassan's face is bloody from where the local police have beat him. One cop then twice kicks Hassan in the side (as the man is bound and seated on the ground).
  • Border patrol guards become suspicious of Santiago and Amelia trying to bring the kids back across the U.S. border. One guard has his hand on his gun, and when Santiago is told to drive up to another section for additional checking, he guns the car, ramming it into another.
  • Police spot Yussef and his brother and their father up on a rocky hill and then fire upon them, forcing them to take cover behind the rocks. Ahmed is shot in the leg (with bloody results on his clothing), while Yussef grabs the rifle and fires back at the cops, hitting one in the arm. The cops continue firing at them, with Ahmed trying to flee and being shot in the back (with more bloody results), while Abdullah tries to tend to him as Yussef takes and smashes the rifle, followed by giving himself up.
  • When another tourist threatens to get the bus to leave and thus abandon Richard and his badly injured wife, Richard grabs and pushes him to the ground, and has to be pulled off him.



  • Reviewed September 15, 2006 / Posted November 10, 2006

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