I know this film was nominated for many awards, and while there were some outstanding performances, on a whole it didn’t really impress me.
If you were to remove the grating and trite Brad Pitt / Cate Blanchett sequences, the “bed pan” reconciliation was nauseating at best, the rest of the storylines involving the families in Morocco, Mexico, and Japan had some solid storytelling and explored relevant social issues. However, the characters and their personal situations are never explored to the level that we develop a strong bond with them. We’re left thinking, “Yeah, that was kind of neat, but who cares?”
Babel could have been approached much like Kieslowski’s Trois Couleurs trilogy – where each film stood alone but referenced and incorporated characters in the other films. This could have been a much more satisfying approach. However, in its current assemblage, Babel, doesn’t provide enough depth with any of the storylines to truly engage the viewer.
Having the subtitles on or off didn’t really make much of a different either.