Box art for Babel


action & adventure, drama

In Babel, a tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Explicit with mature themes; best for older teens, adults.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film includes explicit, traumatic violence, especially by gunfire and especially involving young children. In one incident, a boy shoots a rifle at a tourists' bus from far away, accidentally hitting a young mother; she bleeds and becomes increasingly weak through the rest of the film. In another, authorities shoot at a father and his two young sons (one shoots back at them, and the other is shot dead, all shown in bloody, sad imagery). When a nanny is lost in the desert with two young children, the kids become badly dehydrated and very sick. To shock some boys, a high school student shows off what's under her school uniform skirt. She also discusses her mother's suicide and considers it for herself; at one point she stands on a high rise balcony, frightening her father. The same girl later appears naked before a policeman (there are two shots of frontal nudity). A boy masturbates. Characters drink, smoke, do drugs, and use profanity, especially "f--k."

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the film's central theme -- communication. How can you communicate with someone if you don't understand their language? How can communication help solve problems? How do parents and caregivers sometimes end up making poor decisions about the kids in their care? Could situations like that be avoided if rebellious children and their angry or anxious parents were able to talk? How do the movie's imagery and soundtrack evoke the experiences of being afraid, high, or even deaf?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 27
    see all Babel reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Irritu] remains as entranced as ever by fate, loss and the interconnectedness of humankind, and I admire him for it. But Babel isn't the last or best word on that subject. It's just a lot of talk.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, November 10, 2006

Fresh: As each story comes to its conclusion, some characters rise above, while others are crushed under the weight of the day's events. The tales are equal parts miracle and tragedy. And that's often what life is, which makes Babel ring true.

- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic, Friday, November 10, 2006


- Bob Mondello,, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Alejandro Gonzƒlez Iƒƒrritu continues his perfect film-making with this very realistic and emotional story about the effects of guns. However, to say that is almost like simplifying a movie that is so overtly complex and layered. Lik with 21 Grams and Amores Perros, this uses multiple narratives that intertwine and support each other. Pretty much every actor and character fills their need perfectly, which must ve been hard due to the fact that no one has more than 20 minutes of screen time. This is in many ways Iƒƒrritu s largest scale. Usually he only deals with three major roles, but this really was more about humanity as a whole rather than small character pieces. The cinematography is beautiful and surreal, capturing the best parts of life with it. Even with three very different landscapes, you have a very interesting style going on that really has an impression on the feel of the film. Now unlike 21 Grams and Amores Perros, this is not going to be for everyone. While I deeply enjoyed this movie, it has some very bold choices that most moviegoers won t understand or be pleased with. The idea that there is no main character or sole protagonist is a little bit scary, but I for one thought it really worked. I felt it was a more accurate depiction of life.

- ythelastman89, Thursday, April 29, 2010

1 star

Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu should stick to photography. He's got a good eye, that much is obvious but he seems to have a real problem with his editing. There are some wonderful compositions here that are skipped over so quickly, and some footage that most directors would have left on the cutting room floor! I hate his Guillermo Arriaga adaptations more and more as he makes them, Tommy Lee Jones made a fucking amazing film, all you need is a couple of good actors and an editor with an attention span over 5 seconds! Pitt and Blanchett had an easy day at the office, only Rinko Kikuchi and the Moroccan cast impressed me. Unlike Guillermo Arriaga's original script (that Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu later fiddled with), the film is a contrived mess of illogical musing failing to convince or even entertain. Stereotype? Karma? Understanding? Unseen and unheard communication? A butterfly flaps its wings and a hurricane starts blowing on the other side of the world...Yeah, a mouse farts and a talentless Mexican makes another bad movie! Go figure. Its all foreplay and no action, and the foreplay ain't that great either! I have a headache now!

- SirPant, Thursday, November 26, 2009

5 stars

Babel completely blew me away. I guess I had expected it to be kind of high-brow and "This Is Arte!" ( i. e. Synecdoche, New York) I had not expected it to be this good. Its beautiful and poetic, emotional and disturbing. Its beautifly filmed and scripted. I really liked the entertwined storylines, though the connections could have been a bit more obvious. The acting was very good, as well, but would you expect any less from the likes of Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal? I really have no complaints at all. Babel is visual and emotional, tense and compelling; truly a memorable and great film.

- neverteaseaweasel, Thursday, November 12, 2009