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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Babylon

also known as “Babil,” “Babilon,” “Babilonas,” “Babilônia,” “Babylon: Rausch Der Ekstase,” “Βαβυλώνα,” “Вавилон,” “バビロン,” “巴比倫”
MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, bloody violence, drug use, and pervasive language.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive—Not Recommended
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Quasi-History Drama Comedy
Length:
3 hr. 8 min.
Year of Release:
2022
USA Release:
December 23, 2022 (wide release)
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Relevant Issues
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Hedonism, unbriddled decadence, debauchery and depravity in Hollywood film industry

Rewriting history

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What does it mean to be LASCIVIOUS? Answer

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Outrageous excess

What is the FALL OF MAN? Answer

Self destructive behavior

Drug and alcohol abuse / About DRUNKENNESS in the Bible

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Movie with very strong and crude sexual content

What is sexual immorality?

Nudity—Why are humans supposed to wear clothes?

Sexual lust outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it?

Is there a way to overcome excessive lust for sex?

FILM VIOLENCE

HOLLYWOOD DISCONNECT—Why is there a disconnect between “Hollywood” and the rest of America? Answer

CHANGE HOLLYWOOD—What is being done to change the values of “Hollywood”? Answer

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Ego and excessive ambition / pridefulness vs. humility

Danger of believing yourself to be invincible and that you can have and do anything

Purity—Should I save sex for marriage?

TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with them?

CONSEQUENCES—What are the consequences of sexual immorality?

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Answer

About DIVORCE and God’s Word

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

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Featuring Diego CalvaManny Torres
Margot RobbieNellie LaRoy
Brad PittJack Conrad
Olivia WildeIna Conrad
Samara WeavingConstance Moore
Lukas HaasGeorge Munn
Max MinghellaIrving Thalberg
Tobey MaguireJames McKay
Eric RobertsRobert Roy
Katherine WaterstonEstelle
Ethan SupleeWilson
Spike Jonze
Jovan AdepoSidney Palmer
Li Jun LiLady Fay Zhu
Jean SmartElinor St. John
Phoebe TonkinJane Thornton
Jeff GarlinDon Wallach
Jennifer GrantMildred Yates
Lewis Tan
P.J. ByrneMax (Ruth’s Assistant Director)
See all »
Director Damien Chazelle
Producer Paramount Pictures
C2 Motion Picture Group
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

Hollywood’s seedy underbelly revealed—grossly immoral, obscene, blasphemous, evil and disgusting”

Before I review this film, I want be very clear that I regret watching it. My favorite movie of all time is “Singin’ in the Rain,” and this film goes out of its way tarnish any idea of what people enjoyed about that film and old Hollywood itself. The film showcases the most depraved and disgusting behavior while attempting to make homosexuality seem normal in comparison and the portraying the black character as having a moral high ground, opposite of the white white characters which are shown as odious in nature. This absolutely intentional woke antic is something I’m noticing more and more as a person that happens to be black. I have come grown to truly despise this narrative that is running rampant in modern cinema.

I want to start out by absolutely discouraging anyone from seeing this film, and I will lay out why.

“Babylon” starts off with the lead character attempting to get an elephant to a party. This seemingly comical opening quickly makes a turn, where a character is soon covered in elephant feces, it serves as prelude of what the viewing audience is in for.

Let’s start with the acting, our “protagonist” Manny (Diego Calva), is an immigrant who came to America to chase a dream of working in films, he’s soon met by Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie), a wild aspiring actress who sees herself as a star who hasn’t had her big break. The film has several different storylines, including the prominent character of Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), a leading man of the silent film era. Other side storylines include Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo) a talented black trumpet player who believes he wants the limelight. The cast is star studded with supporting actors Li Jun Li, Jean Smart and Tobey Maguire. The acting is well done, but the film itself is just abhorrent.

The plot highlights the end of the silent movie era and the transition into talking pictures. It follows the characters in their rise and fall, with twisted turns along the way. A lot of the characters are loosely based on real Hollywood stars of that time, although there is no real way to know the actual level of debauchery occurring at that time and how much is embellished for shock value, because the director knew he could get away with it by calling it art.

There is an attempt to showcase the beauty of moviemaking and the people who made it possible, with the deeply secular message that life is fleeting, so do as you will, but film is immortal. However, the way it’s conveyed is atrocious, with every heinous thing imaginable on full display.

As for objectionable content, take your pick! Blasphemy (over 20 instances), foul language (over 150 F-words alone, graphic sex/orgies, fornication, murder, blood, feces and urination, homosexuality (shown as good and as almost virtuous), alcohol, drinking, drugs, blood, violence, suicide, male and female nudity (frontal and back), eating of a mouse fully shown. Sexual intercourse shown at parties and in a dungeon of some sort. Nothing is implied, everything is shown in explicit detail; I had to overt my eyes.

The depravity of man is on full display.

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.” —Jeremiah 51:6

We as Christian must not conform to this world. The Bible’s warning is apt, avoid this film and everything it promotes. There is no redeeming value, nothing but vile refuse portrayed as art. I view this film as an obituary for Hollywood.

  • Violence: Extreme
  • Profane language: Extreme
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Extreme
  • Nudity: Extreme
  • Sex: Extreme
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Extreme
  • Occult: Extreme
  • Wokeism: Extreme

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

  • Learn about spiritual DARKNESS versus LIGHT
  • See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


    Viewer CommentsSend your comments
    Comments from young people
    Negative—“Babylon” struggles with a very human urge: the urge to justify. The urge to defend wrongdoings and find excuse for poor behavior through convoluted explanations.

    “Babylon” wants to tell us that the debauchery and depravity showcased in the film is wrong, but it won’t go all the way with its condemnation. It shows us what unlimited sex, alcohol, gambling, and drugs lead to, but much like other films obsessed with showing excess, it merely shows the expected end result and refuses to flat out chastise it. Instead, it treats its characters as martyrs. People we’re supposed to feel for, as if they were forced into the lives they chose.

    Babylon’s message is basic and obvious. Bad things procure bad results. But our protagonist smiles happily at the end of the film after realizing his work has led to, in a way, his own immortality within art. And instead of showing that beautiful films can be crafted without an utter lack of self control, “Babylon” shrugs its shoulders, and assumes that since it occurred that way, it was meant to.

    Depravity is bad, sure, but hey! It led to great art. And the folks who were eaten up by their own sin exist as divine performers forever in art. They were sick in life, but pure on film. That’s worth it, right?

    No. It certainly isn’t.

    It does not take depravity to make art. And it does not take a lack of moderation to show depravity.

    You do not need bad to make good. We need bad for good to exist on Earth, but sometimes, all we have to do is look at something beautiful in order to see beauty.

    And no amount of technical beauty Babylon shows can hide its misguided, rotten core.
    My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
    Matt, age 18 (USA)
    Positive
    Positive—This movie is an incredible allegory for sin and in particular, the Tower of Babel. The Biblical imagery is astounding and rich, and will make you want to re-read the book of Genesis.

    We all want to be part of something bigger - something that lasts. That’s what’s at the heart of Babylon. This desire is in all of us. In ancient Babylon, that “thing that lasts” was the Tower of Babel. For our characters in 1920s Hollywood, it’s the movies. In both groups, humans try to elevate themselves to the gods, to make a name for themselves.

    In both groups, there is depravity. And we see this in great detail in Babylon’s opening scene - a lavish, all night party in the Hollywood hills with drinking, drugs, sex, music, and so much dancing. This is it! This is the center of the word, and if you’re there you’re somebody. This is where we meet Nellie (Margot Robbie) and Manny (Diego Calva), two nobodies on the verge of their big breaks. That night, Manny falls in love with Nellie not just because she is beautiful and fun, but because she has it: that drive to be part of something bigger, something that lasts. It’s something they both share. He tells her in Spanish that he loves her, but she doesn’t understand.

    They go their separate ways. Nellie becomes a big silent film star and Manny starts working with Jack Conrad, a famous leading actor played by Brad Pitt. Conrad has it too, the desire to be part of something bigger, something that lasts. He thinks film is the way to do it. He thinks of movie-making as a high art, and he is the chief artist, always imagining how to connect with more people. Manny rises through the ranks and becomes a studio executive, and Nellie has a tough transition to talking pictures (very explicitly in the style of “Singin’ in the Rain”).See all »
    Tory Crowley, age 34 (USA)

    PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

    Secular Movie Critics
    …a three-plus hour orgy (sometimes literally) of sex, drugs, and cinema, a respected young artist reaching for a profound statement about art and commerce and America. He misses it by a country mile …
    Jason Bailey, The Playlist
    …sham piece of puffery that it is, a hubristic, down-in-the-muck advertisement for an ultimately dewy-eyed vision of the silver screen—one that long ago lost its luster …all the capital-P perversions on display… Chazelle appears to be saying that there are no original stories left to be told, and that the progenitors of those tales were unrepentant hedonists anyway, so we might as well just wallow in the excess like a pig in filth. His torturously glib cynicism is quite the attitude around which to build an epic boondoggle of this sort. Equally as heinous is the 11th-hour optimism that he then attempts to tack onto “Babylon” via a jaw-droppingly wrongheaded climactic montage. …[1/4]
    Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine
    …Hollywood was born in sin: a spangled palm-tree Sodom where pretty young things sell their souls for a role, and vice and venality run free. Or at least that’s the myth we’ve built since silent pictures, and one that director Damien Chazelle seems desperate to convey in “Babylon,” his frantic, antic, and frankly exhausting ode to the birth of the business they call show. …
    Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
    …“Babylon” is a manic sprawl that only pretends to celebrate cinema. It’s really about prurience, dumb sensation, self-congratulation and willful ignorance of history. …
    Stephanie Zacharek, Time
    …a story in no hurry to engage with the true-life nastiness of its era… “Babylon” is a film that’s thinking big, aiming big, acting big: but feeling medium, and finally ordering us to care about the celluloid magic…
    Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
    …These are little islands in a sea of mannered chaos, but it begins to feel, as “Babylon” stretches out across three hours and eight minutes, that Chazelle has no clear idea where all of this is going. …
    Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
    …it is guaranteed to be a movie that will stay in your head…
    Peter Hammond, Deadline
    …syncopated concentration of hedonistic revelry… Propelled by Justin Hurwitz’s unrelenting wall-of-sound score, it’s often electrifying, to be sure, and certainly impressive in terms of sheer scale. …But even when Chazelle takes a breather from the debauchery and gets his principals on a studio backlot or tries accessing them in more intimate moments, it all seems like one big, noisy, grotesque nostalgia cartoon. …it’s hard to imagine the overstuffed yet insubstantial “Babylon” finding its way into many screen-classic montages…
    David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
    …It’s a hyped-up cocaine conversation of a movie, throwing out lots of ideas and images and mammoth set pieces without ever amounting to anything. …
    Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
    …an exhausting ordeal that still feels underdeveloped… an odyssey through perverse millionaire shindigs, archaic underground nightclubs, and studio sound stages where workers are expendable as long as directors get their perfect shot. It’s a heartbreaking tragedy, dreamer’s comedy, and saucy stumble through double-edged “success” stories, but most of all? It’s a bloated, brass-band-swingin” mess. …
    Matt Donato, IGN