Movie Review: Babies

The trailer for BABIES is impossibly cute.  If you’re not smiling after a goat steals a sip from a baby’s bathtub or when that same baby attempts horizontal jumping jacks, you’re probably a heartless bastard.

But can an adorable 2-minutes be extrapolated into a 80-minute film?


The low hanging fruit here is that BABIES shows us and our kids, should you decide to bring ’em (more on this later), that yes, in fact we are all the same.  At one point each and every one of us peeled a banana all the way down, badly misusing one of nature’s best keepin’ clean features in the process.  Every dude noodled with his noodle out of sheer curiosity (and some still do, although curiosity is no longer an excuse), we all pestered our cats (or baby goats – whatever ya got), put weird shit in our mouths and unfurled entire rolls of toilet paper.  Before our hyper-advanced, sophisticated societies (and by that I mean adults) corrupt us, turn us into racists, destroy our confidence, make us self-conscious and, in general, strip the innocence and wonder away from the world – we were all babies.

The movie has an arc but is without a plot, which is fine because BABIES is more like intercontinental voyeurism than a feature film.  Like life itself, there is no script and the film, happily, is also without a pulpit.  There is no preaching that one way of child-rearing is superior than another.  If you want to draw conclusions that the more civilized we are, the more neurotic and stuff-obsessed we become, well go right ahead but BABIES is merely pointing the camera in a variety of directions and seeing what’s there.

BABIES tracks 4 infants from 4 diverse locales as they grow up, become verbal, crawl, walk, whine and do funny things (as babies do) during their 1st year on Earth.   Any parent knows that the first twelve months of a child’s life seems to zoom by.  This film however, drags in spots.  If you’re looking for constant yucks, BABIES isn’t going to satisfy.  If you want to be a fly on the wall to witness the radical dissimilarities between the way people live and the conditions in which kids are raised across the planet, then you’ll likely take pleasure in the film’s photography and get to smile a bit along the way.  It’s also probable that you, like me, will spend much of the 80-minutes thinking about your little ones when they were that tiny.

We took the Bear (age 6) yesterday after school, believing that it would be a nice experience for her to see just how different the circumstances are for children in various corners of the globe.  She chuckled, looked away in horror (as the African mother cut her baby’s hair with a sizable utility knife), and dished out several ooohs and aaahs.  Good times.  She “really liked the movie”, noting that her favorite part was when the “brown skin baby balanced the cup on his head”.  I gotta admit that scene was precious, made more so by the fact that the boy’s relatives helped him retrieve the cup and start over every time it fell to the ground.  Oddly enough, the Bear didn’t make one comment about the African and Mongolian babies being raised without men around the home.  I guess I can show myself the door whenever I’m ready.

If you’re cool with your kiddo spying some T+A and tiny p’s (lowercase on purpose), I think your young children might enjoy seeing how others grow up.  Whether they come away more appreciative of a vacuumed carpet or with some kind of world view as a result is doubtful.   But if you’re attempting to provide your kids with a global perspective, if that is something you do actively as a parent, then BABIES will serve nicely as an additional link in that chain of knowledge.

Focus Features Official Site for BABIES

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