Movie Review: “Babylon”

Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) crowd suffers at the opening party of the movie. Babylon’s opening weekend made $18 million in the box office. (courtesy of

Babylon is a three-hour movie that follows multiple characters during the early years of Hollywood. This movie takes place during the transition of silent to sound films during the year of 1926 and the movie ended in the early 1930s. Each character had their own journey, but all of them seemed to intertwine with each other at some point.

Within the first 30 minutes of the movie, there is an extremely lavish party where many Hollywood celebrities attend. Also in attendance are their vices: sex, drugs, a band that performs for over 12 hours and even an elephant that is used as a distraction from something even more chaotic.

As the party goes on, you’re introduced to all of the main characters within the film. Manny Torres (Diego Calva) is a determined studio employee that wants more out of Hollywood. Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) is an extremely poor woman that will do anything to live out her dreams as an actress. Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) is an alcoholic, a womanizer and an incredibly famous actor, but transitioning to sound films could ruin the life he doesn’t want to give up. Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo) is a talented musician who performed for over 12 hours at the party and may even get to live the life he always wanted.

While watching this movie, I learned a few things about what the change of silent to sound films could do to someone’s career and how much work went into making a sound film compared to a silent film.

You will first be introduced to a set of silent films and see how a single desert area was used to film each of them. Since technology was very limited during this time making these films was very chaotic. Most of the time while filming it would be so loud but the audience would never know because silent films had no sound. Furthermore, sometimes props would malfunction causing injuries and death for the staff working with them. You won’t even notice the state of mind of the actor or actress due to the lack of sound. Some of them were drunk, angry, tired and even burning up from the temperature outside.

Eventually, people started making sound films and the actors and actresses that were once in the spotlight were now being mocked and even getting their street credit taken away. The audience realize their favorites may not be as talented as they thought and the actors and actresses must do more than show expressions when acting. They must sound convincing as well!

Sound films brought new opportunities for people who weren’t actors and actresses and allowed musicians to be in the spotlight more than usual. Job opportunities were also opening up for new and improved directors and producers .

New technology brought more stressors for working on set and props aren’t the only thing killing people either. Working with the new equipment such as video and sound brought new ways you may get injured on set.

This movie was three hours long and I felt every minute of it. At some points it felt really slow and even though there were large parties and super chaotic scenes, sometimes they felt unnecessary. I also wanted to learn more about the characters with less screen time compared to the main two characters of the movie.

The ending will leave you wondering about how life was for actors and actresses during this time. It may even make you feel more appreciative of the hard work actors and actresses put into their films.


Edited by Aja Carter and Alijah McCracken