[Minor spoilers ahead.] Iñárritu’s luminous film Babel should be commended for many things, but one bit seems to have missed mention. Here goes: I commend Babel for being the first movie I can remember that features an insecure, impressionable young someone doing drugs and getting drunk for the first time with a gang of folks she only just met and NOTHING BAD HAPPENS. She goes dancing, she goes home.
Think about it for a second. How many other movies can say that? From Tell Your Children to Traffic, it seems there’s almost always some awful consequence for getting caught up with the wrong crowd or doing drugs. But both together? Man, call the coroner.
We’re so used to movie drug clichés that it’s positively shocking when the carefree first-timer doesn’t end up overdosed, pregnant, or worse. Now, of course you increase the chances of something bad happening by doing stupid things, but come on — films that teach a blatantly valuable lesson do tend to nauseate, don’t they? So, yet another reason why Babel is special. Add it to the pile.