In the ever-changing world of Hollywood, a remarkable trend continues to captivate me: some movies initially don't resonate with critics, yet later, they're hailed as masterpieces. Certain films have that remarkable knack for getting better with time, transforming into cherished classics. While this phenomenon isn't novel, there's a cinematic classic in the making in the Margot Robbie-led period dramedy, Babylon. Personally, I'm utterly obsessed with the internet's growing fixation on the Barbie star's performance in this underrated gem.
After a four-year hiatus, director Damien Chazelle made a triumphant return with a film exploring the transition from silent to sound cinema in the late 1920s. Though Babylon featured an all-star cast, an intriguing premise and great production values, critics were less than impressed with the movie. Some noted that the overwhelming exuberance could be fatiguing. Others observed that despite moments of enjoyment, the movie's disorderly execution hinders full enjoyment of the flick. However, nearly a year post-premiere, new advocates, including author Stephen King, have taken to X (formerly Twitter) to hype up what they foresee as a future cult classic. And much of the praise goes to Margot's performance as Nellie LaRoy.
One user, @ZoeRoseBryant, shared her agreement about the movie’s brilliance as the leading lady's strong performance while sharing one of its best scenes, which you can see for yourself below:
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again pic.twitter.com/4bsV9rxacD https://t.co/EAd11gtHO2August 24, 2023
Nellie LaRoy is a hopeful actress striving for success in 1920s Hollywood, something the Suicide Squad star herself knows a thing or two about (sans the '20s era). LaRoy's debut occurs at a 1926 party held in the residence of a Kinoscope Studios executive and is a heart-pounding introduction to the character and the star who embodies her.
It's clear that the tables have really turned, and Babylon is finding its audience. It's fascinating to witness how the internet has rallied to support Margot Robbie's exceptional performance in this amazing film. A fan with the username @lastvibes highlighted one of the most impactful moments of Margot's acting prowess: her remarkable ability to shed tears on cue. This user enthusiastically praised Robbie's brilliant performance and even shared the scene, which you can check out:
Margot Robbie’s performance in Babylon (2022)💯👌 pic.twitter.com/RalMwFC1qIAugust 19, 2023
Another fan highlights the actress' openness to improvisation in the unforgettable kissing scene with her co-star, Brad Pitt. User @enlchico shared a clip of the memorable scene between the two A-listers and provided the following thought:
Margot Robbie improvised to kiss Brad Pitt while filming for ‘BABYLON’ ❤️🔥 'That wasn’t in the script. But I thought, when else am I going to get a chance to kiss Brad Pitt? I’m just gonna go for it' -Margot Robbie
Another fan passionately declares their unwavering support for the Birds of Prey star. User @allurequinn posted stunning screenshots showcasing the actress' standout moments in the movie and made a strong declaration as well:
babylon is one of margot robbie's best and i'll die on this hill.
While critics might not have connected with Damian Chazelle's latest flick, finding its “muchness” exhausting, I think its fans are right. There has been a long history of movies that were under-appreciated upon their release, only to grow in popularity and become Hollywood staples. Let’s take a look at some movies that, like Chazelle's Hollywood epic, were overlooked in their time.
What Other Major Movies Were Overlooked In Their Time?
You may be surprised to learn that some of the most iconic films in all of cinema didn't get their due right away like Babylon. Take a look at the following list of classics and how they were received:
The Wizard of Oz (1939): It's difficult to imagine early cinema without picturing Dorothy's journey to the colorful land of Oz. However, William Stillman, co-author of The Wizardry of Oz: The Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic, noted to the Los Angeles Times that critics' concerns about MGM encroaching on Disney's domain. Fans of L. Frank Baum's Oz books also disliked the film's modern elements. The movie found its audience in the 1950s through television broadcasts, though.
The Shining (1980): Stanley Kubrick’s only foray into horror is currently considered a masterpiece of horror, some believing it’s superior to the book in ways, but it was panned upon release. Many critics didn’t like its slow pacing and disjointed narrative.
Blow Out (1981): Brian De Palma's thriller is now a classic, despite flopping at the box office. John Travolta's role here led Quentin Tarantino to cast him in Pulp Fiction. Yet, during release, many critics disliked it. Boston Globe's Bruce McCabe called it a "Xerox of a movie" without the impact of its inspirations.
The Thing (1982): John Carpenter’s tale of a shape-shifting alien stalking a group of scientists in the Antarctic might be considered one of the best horror movies now, but reviewers hated it at the time. It was a critical and financial failure, with Roger Ebert expressing his disappointment and reducing it to a “barf bag of a movie.”
Predator (1987): Los Angeles Times writer Michael Wilmington had this to say about one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best action movies, “It's arguably one of the emptiest, feeblest, most derivative scripts ever made as a major studio movie.”
The way some people can be left dumbfounded in the face of something that later becomes an emblem of creative brilliance is almost poetic. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion at any given time, though. The evolution of movies from divisive initial reactions to future classics showcases the ever-changing nature of art appreciation. The beauty of cinema lies in its ability to surprise, challenge, and evolve over time, and it's just wonderful to see that Margot Robbie and Babylon as a whole are apparently getting that treatment.
If you want to learn more about Babylon, you can check out our breakdown of Tobey Maguire's crazy plot or learn how Damien Chazelle crafted a two-hour version on his iPhone. And if you're up for rethinking the movie, especially Margot Robbie's impressive acting, it's available for streaming using a Prime Video Subscription. Or if you're curious about what's coming up, our scheduled of 2023 new movie releases has you covered when it comes to upcoming films for the rest of the year.