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.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Consequence by Clint Worthington
Babylon slowly builds up its wackadoo cartoon version of Hollywood to tear it down at its foundation.
It reminds us the movies have been dying for more than 100 years, and then — through its heart-bursting, endearingly galaxy-brained prayer of a finale — interprets that as uplifting proof they’ll actually live forever. It just doesn’t have any idea how the movies will do it, or where the hell they might go from here.
New York Post by Johnny Oleksinski
The movie is a good 40 minutes too long and momentum ceases to build a while before it finally ends. Still, when the director’s party is raging, you’ll wish you had an invite.
Slant Magazine by Keith Uhlich
[Chazelle’s] 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.
Entertainment Weekly by Leah Greenblatt
Boogie had a dramatic throughline, and something genuinely unsettling to say about the strange soul-bargaining of fame. Chazelle often steers his characters toward tragedy or anguish, without ever quite rooting his inscrutable thesis in anything real.
San Francisco Chronicle by Mick LaSalle
Don’t mistake his movie’s lack of sentimentality for callousness. Babylon is coarse, hard and wild, but its emotion is undeniable. Babylon is what movie love really looks like.
The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw
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, a secondary emotional response which should be happening without any explicit instruction. Yet it’s always a pleasure to be in the presence of such black-belt movie stars as Pitt and Robbie and there is something funny in Babylon’s wild, event-movie gigantism.
Babylon is gorgeous and grotesque, huge, noisy, and unlike anything else we’ve seen or heard on screen this year.
The A.V. Club by Tomris Laffly
Babylon mostly operates in a structure of set pieces, thoroughly earning its not-a-minute-too-long runtime—a whopping 189 minutes—and it’s packed to the gills with stunning craftsmanship.