I first saw Babel at Telluride last year, and I remember how nervous director Alejandro González Iñnáritu was as he introduced the film for one of its first (it may have even been the first) screenings. He talked in his intro about how he set out with Babel to make a film about the ways in which we are different, and ended up making a film about the ways in which we are alike, and how the borders that separate us are less about physical borders between countries, and more about the borders we create within.
Babel's Paramount Vantage 2-Disc Collector's edition comes out today, so if you missed seeing what all the fuss was about during the film's theatrical run (it was nominated for a bevy of Oscars as well), now's your chance to see the film in the comfort of your own home. Babel follows four stories tied loosely together through the common thread of a woman shot by a sniper on a bus in a remote part of Morocco. The woman, Susan (Cate Blanchett) and her husband, Richard (Brad Pitt) are in Morocco taking a trip together in an attempt to heal their marriage, which has fallen apart in the wake of the death of their infant son. They've left their two young children, Mike (Nathan Gamble) and Debbie (Elle Fanning) back home in California in the care of their loving Mexican nanny, Amelia (Adriana Barazza).
Amelia is wholly devoted to her young charges, and has made many personal sacrifices for the sake of the family she works for, but when Susan is shot and their return home is delayed, Amelia faces a wrenching choice: She cannot leave Mike and Debbie, but her only son is getting married in Mexico and she wants to go to his wedding. When Richard's back-up plan for Susan's sister to come and relieve Amelia doesn't pan out, Richard, distraught over his wife's life-threatening injury, commands Amelia to miss her son's wedding and stay with his children. Faced with having to miss the wedding, Amelia makes a decision that will have profound consequences: She takes the children with her into Mexico to attend her son's wedding.