Sunday, April 27, 2008

Speaking or Listening??

Babel made my list as one of the best movies that I saw in 2007. There is no question that is true. There are four seemingly unrelated stories that all tie seamlessly together by the end. What a surprise. Time jumps back and forth, and sometimes you don't know what is happening. Brad Pitt gives his best performance as the husband of an American woman who is shot by a sniper. The wife is played by Cate Blanchett who once again is perfect.

Then there are the two pre-pubescent brothers who seem to know nothing about anything serious. One brother likes to watch his sister undress and bathe. The other thinks that is an offense to Allah, and decency. These young Moroccan boys are filled with play, mischief and sibling rivalry.

There is the deaf girl in Tokyo who longs for someone, anyone, to love her. After the death of her mother her grief is almost unbearable. And although her father tries to connect with her, he is reserved. He tries too hard. She is left to reach out to her teen-age friends who seem incapable of any real emotion or connection.

Then there is the Mexican immigrant who cares for children in southern California. Although she is a legal resident of the USA, circumstances require her to take her charges to Mexico for the wedding of her son. One thing leads to another and the caretaker and two children are lost in the desert.

It is a heart-rending movie. There is never a dull moment. But I can summarize it for you. No one listens. In this film no one listens to anyone else. The American couple are having a marital crisis because they will not listen to one another. The Japanese teen-ager is desperate because she can get no one to pay attention to her. The Mexican woman can get no one to care for the children, and then when she is lost in the desert with them, no one can hear her calls. There is a lot of talking in Babel, but there is not very much listening.

So learn a lesson. Do not be afraid to speak to people. But when others are speaking, be sure to pay attention. Listen and hear what they are saying.

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