Ancient History

Follow Me?


I saw “Babies”


Last night, I had 4 babies.

I fell in love with each one of them at first sight. I’ll never hold them, sing to them, or nurse them, but I know them.

The new film, Focus Features’ Babies, introduces the world to these wide-eyed wonders in such an innovative, charming way that I couldn’t help but be swept up into their little lives. One by one, the film introduces the little ones who hail from around the world. Mari lives in Tokyo. Hattie is a San Franciscan. Bayar is a little man of Mongolia, and Ponijao dwells in Namibia.

Once they take their first breaths, their stories intertwine. They eat, sleep, sing, bathe, crawl, and finally walk in a progression of chubby cheeks and stompy toddler feet.

They are more alike than different.

In a departure from the typical documentary, which is narrated, Babies trusts the babies to reveal their worlds through facial expressions, squeals, and sensory experiences. Who needs James Earl Jones booming voice when you have a cooing 3-month-old or a tantruming 10-month-old? The perspective is subtle and it’s never manipulative or cloying.

One of the beautiful aspects of Babies is that no mothering style is presented as superior, no culture is put on a pedestal. Ponijao gnaws on a bone he finds in the dirt. He’s okay. Bayar sits naked on a rusty barrel as young cattle crowd around. He’s okay. Mari plays with CDs while her parents work on computers. She’s okay. Hattie endures one of the silliest hippy-run music classes I’ve ever seen. She runs for the door.

But she’s okay.

The cinematography is gorgeous. Sweeping vistas of the more remote locales served as a poignant contrast to the babies’ innocence and sense of exploration. Even the city girls, Mari and Hattie, were shown as small forces in the bustle of traffic and technology. No one environment was hailed as the best for a baby. They adapt where they are, and they adapt well.

Should you take your children to see Babies? It is rated PG. I don’t think it’s for every child. If your kiddos are familiar with very obvious breastfeeding (maternal nudity with a purpose, never gratuitous) and won’t be distracted by naked baby bums and other parts, then they’d probably love it. I don’t think kids need to be shielded from these things, at all.

I simply think it might be annoying to sit next to snickering 8-year-olds. Someone should make a movie called Elementary School-Aged Kids. Bruno Coulais should start composing the soundtrack immediately.

Babies opens on May 7th, just in time for Mother’s Day weekend. To find a screening is near you, click here. To watch the trailer, click here.

11 comments to I saw “Babies”

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>