Rob and I watched the film, Babel, last night. It starred a very harried and old looking Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. I am pretty sure that Pitt’s wrinkles were his own but enhanced to make him appear emotionally worn and very tired. The plot isn’t clear on many points but Pitt and Blanchett were apparently on holiday in Morrocco following the death of one of their three young children. She is then shot while on a bus tour by whom officials by is a terrorist but turns out to be a pre-teen boy playing with a rifle. Meanwhile back home, the couple’s illegal Mexican nanny/housekeeper has decided to take their surviving two children to her son’s wedding in Mexico when the parents are late returning due to the shooting and she can’t find anyone she trusts to watch her charges. Now, I had a lot of questions while watching, not the least of which was why the scenes of the couple and the nanny and the children were constantly being interupted by the life of a sullen, grief-stricken deaf/mute Japanese teenage girl in Tokoyo. First why would you choose Morrocco as a holiday retreat after your child dies? And travel on a bus tour with cranky senior aged Europeans and Brits to boot? And why wouldn’t your sister-in-law rush in and take your kids after your wife has been shot? And why would an illegal take her employer’s kids to Mexico when you would think she’d realize that she was going to have one hell of a time getting them back over the border? And finally, why were all the teens in the film fixiated on sex? The Japanese girl practicially assaulted her dentist and then a policeman (though I didn’t see that part – more later on that), and the Morroccan boy was peeping at his willing older sister.
I didn’t finish watching the film, which I know will drive Rob crazy. He looked up the synopis on Wikipedia to satisfy himself and show me that there was nothing to be upset about in the coming scenes. I told him I couldn’t watch anymore after the nanny and children are dumped in the desert in the middle of the night by her drunken nephew after an incident with U.S. Border Patrol. I was certain that something horrible was going to happen to the children and I just couldn’t bare to watch. Things like this always remind me of my own child and anxieties about her safety. “It’s just a movie” my husband reminded me but I am too raw still when it comes to possible death, even when it is just make believe. I don’t see this as entertainment although an article in Saturday’s Globe and Mail assures me that it is now violence and not sex that is the number one entertainment draw.
So I didn’t finish the film and I am thinking that I will opt for comedy for the next while (though that isn’t always a safe bet as we watched Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang recently and it was dead people awash.) I wasn’t always this way but after watching my late husband die, and my fears about my loved ones in the wake, has made me quite squeamish.
Rob thought the movie was dull and disjointed (disjointed passes for depth these days in cinema) but I got the point the filmmaker was trying to make – even though he did a very poor job of making it. I am okay with fake stuff. Like super hero movies. That’s not real. There are no superheroes. But movies that mimic reality, and it’s mostly the gross, horrible underside, I can no longer deal with. I don’t know if I ever will be able to again and am not sure that this is a bad thing.