Babylon Has Screened, And The Brad Pitt And Margot Robbie Hollywood Epic Is Getting Mixed Reactions

Brad Pitt in Babylon.
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

There are so many reasons to be pumped about the upcoming release of Babylon. Damien Chazelle has been providing terrific entertainment the last few years with films such as La La Land and Whiplash, and he has assembled a truly spectacular cast to bring to life his boisterous tale of the excesses of Hollywood during the transition period between silent movies and talkies. The new movie's trailer definitely has a chaotic feel, with Brad Pitt encouraging Margot Robbie to fight a snake among numerous other wild moments. An early screening of the 188-minute epic was held in Beverly Hills, and the first reactions are all over the place. 

Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie star in an ensemble that also includes Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Tobey Maguire, Jovan Adepo and many more in what is expected to be a major contender for some 2023 Academy Awards. Let’s see what some of the first social media reactions can tell us about Babylon

Clayton Davis of Variety calls is a “high octane, cocaine-inducing trip,” praising Justin Hurwitz for the music, as well as Margot Robbie’s performance: 

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Movie critic Maggie Ma also mentions the music, and says that Li Jun Li, who previously appeared in a number of television series including Sex/Life, Wu Assassins and Quantico, is a true scene-stealer: 

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Jeff Nelson calls the movie “daring” and a shock to the senses. This writer says you can feel director Damien Chazelle’s style throughout the three-hour affair:

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Josh Blumenkranz, meanwhile, is blown away by what he calls the director’s best work yet. This love letter to cinema took the moviegoer’s breath away:

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However, it seems that for every tweet raving about Babylon, there is another poking holes in that narrative. While some reactions call this Damien Chazelle’s best movie, there are also those like this one from critic Erick Weber, who has strong opinions about this not just being the director’s worst movie, but one of the worst films of the year: 

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Matt Donato of SlashFilm says the first hour of the movie is engrossing, and each performer gets their moment to shine. However, overall character development is lacking, and the end result is a chaotic and “bloated mess”: 

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Perri Nemiroff of Collider lauds Justin Hurwitz’s score, as well as Margot Robbie’s acting prowess, but she agrees with the above assessment that Babylon isn’t able to support all of its key characters: 

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Finally, Joshua Rothkopf of Entertainment Weekly says the film is high-energy, but it doesn’t sound like that’s a good thing. He says that Babylon is fails to be insightful and calls it “a Scorsese coke film by a squeaky clean director”: 

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It’s clear that audiences should expect a loud, long, chaotic adventure when Babylon hits theaters in December; however, it’s unclear how successful Damien Chazelle is at bringing his vision full circle. It will be interesting to see how the critics expand on their experience when reviews come out. In the meantime, see what’s coming to theaters in the remaining weeks of 2022, and check out our 2023 Movie Release Schedule to get a look ahead at next year. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.