Babel (2006)

If You Want to be Understood...Listen

Blu-ray, 2h 23min
Rating: 7.4
Votes: 279385
Languages: English, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Berber languages, French, Russian, Japanese Sign Language
Country: France, USA, Mexico

Plot outline

Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.

Personal notes




Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families. - IMDb Editors

4 interlocking stories connected by a single gun converge at the end to reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren't all that different. In Morocco, a troubled married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences. Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple's Mexican nanny takes the couple's 2 children with her to her son's wedding in Mexico, only to come into trouble on the return trip. Combined, it provides a powerful story and an equally powerful looking glass into the lives of seemingly random people around the world and it shows just how connected we really are. - Mac

In Morocco, a shepherd buys a powerful rifle for his sons to protect his herd of goats against jackals attack. The younger decides to test the weapon's range of 3 km and shoots an American woman in bus. Her husband is trying the reconciliation of their lives through vacation in Morocco. Due to the incident, in San Diego their Mexican maid travels to Mexico with their children for the marriage of her son. Meanwhile in Tokyo, the police tries to contact the former owner of the rifle, and his daughter that is feeling rejected misunderstand the reason of the investigation. - Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Three concurrent but interrelated stories covering four countries on three continents are presented. Just outside the small town of Tazzarine in the Moroccan desert, a goat farmer named Abdullah has just purchased a rifle from his neighbor. The rifle is for his eldest son, pre-teen Ahmed, to shoot jackals who have been killing their goats. However, Abdullah's younger son, Yussef, who in many ways demonstrates older tendencies than his brother, ends up being more natural with the firearm. Fooling around with the rifle, the boys take target at various items, testing its shooting distance. In doing so, Yussef shoots at a tour bus off in the distance. The boys can tell by the actions of the bus that Yussef probably hit it. The two scared boys later learn indirectly that an American tourist was killed on the bus. With this information, the boys have to figure out what to do. The information they receive is incorrect as the shooting victim, Susan Jones, did not die immediately from her gunshot wound to the shoulder, but is seriously wounded. She and her husband Richard Jones were on vacation at the time trying to mend their loving but troubled marriage, their problems largely from not being able to deal with the grief associated with the recent SIDS death of their youngest child, Sam. Richard not only has to figure out how to get Susan the needed medical attention required to save her life, which is difficult as the closest hospital is a two hour drive away, but deal with a bus-load of other passengers who can sympathize with the Jones' plight but are concerned for their own health and safety based partly on speculation that Susan's shooting was a terrorist attack. While Richard and Susan's time away from their home in San Diego is extended, Amelia, their illegal alien Mexican housekeeper, has to extend her care of the Jones' two other children, young adolescents Mike and Debbie. This causes an issue for Amelia as her son Luis is getting married in their hometown just across the border in Mexico and Amelia can't find anyone to sit with the children during the wedding. As such, she decides to bring the children to the wedding, which leads to potential problems as she does not have written consent by Richard or Susan to cross the border with them. Amelia, in large part, is at the mercy of her headstrong nephew, Santiago, her and the children's chauffeur that day. Meanwhile in Tokyo, Chieko Wataya, a deaf teenager, is mourning the recent suicide death of her mother. At the same time, she is reaching her sexual awakening, which she is having problems dealing with, as she is often rejected by boys her own age because of her disability. As such, she seeks out that sexual release with older men in inappropriate ways, this sex which she equates with the love that seems to be now missing from the Wataya household. These issues with Chieko come to a head when the police come looking for her father, for what she believes is their furthering questioning about her mother's death and if it really was suicide. - Huggo

"In Gen. 11:9, the name of Babel is etymologized by association with the Hebrew verb balal, 'to confuse or confound'" ("Babel", through a series of misunderstandings, interweaves the unfortunate circumstances of a Moroccan, an American, a Mexican and a Japanese family. A Moroccan family acquires a rifle to protect their goats. An American woman, on a bus tour with her husband, is accidentally shot, which is in turn grossly exaggerated by the press who are quick to label the incident as a "terrorist attack". The same couple's children accompany their long-time caretaker to Mexico to attend her son's wedding, where upon re-entering the United States face problems. A Japanese widower confronts difficulties in communicating with his deaf teenage daughter whom simply craves human contact. - Krystl Hazel

Richard and Susan are a couple from San Diego, California who are vacationing in Morocco while their two children are at home with their Mexican housekeeper, Amelia. A rifle finds its way into the hands of a local herdsman's young sons, who recklessly take a shot at a tour bus and hit Susan in the shoulder, causing her severe injury. The distraught Richard calls home to tell Amelia of the situation, who shortly departs for Mexico to attend her son's wedding, with Richard and Susan's children in tow. Disaster thus multiplies, with the situation in Morocco ascribed to terrorists in the media, while Amelia meets with trouble at the Mexican border when she attempts to return to San Diego with Richard and Susan's children. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, a widower tied to the rifle in question, a complex shift of ownership to which the audience is privy, attempts to deal with the memories of his recently deceased wife and his strained relationship with his deaf teenage daughter. - alfiehitchie