Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Are you tired of movies with plots? Are you sick to death of dialog? Do you feel that a story just gets in the way of a film? Well have I got the film for you.

“Babies”, from director Thomas Balmes, is precisely what it says on the tin; it is a movie about four babies. From just before birth through their first birthdays we follow the lives of Hattie from America, Bayar from Mongolia, Ponijao from Namibia, and Mari from Japan. Technically this would have to be classified as a documentary as it does literally that, it documents the vastly different (and sometimes maybe not-so-different) lives of these four children, and it does it without offering any opinions or explanations as to what is happening on screen.

So what can you expect to see in “Babies”? You can expect to see lots and lots of cuteness. You get to see babies with cats, dogs, goats, and cows. Babies peeing, pooing, hiccuping, eating, crying, sleeping, and doing pretty much anything else that's cute. There's also a large amount of baby nudity as Bayar is rarely wearing pants and Ponijao never is.

This is a movie that makes you do all the work as there is no narration at any point in the film, only captions at the beginning telling you the names of the babies and where they live. So on the screen when you see Ponijao getting his head shaved with a kitchen knife, or Hattie trying to escape from a parent and baby group singing about how the Earth takes care of us all it is without comment or judgment by the filmmaker. Everything is what it is, and anything you choose to read into it is purely on you.

The scenes seem to have been chosen at random based purely on cuteness for much of the film's short 80 minute run, only occasionally finding symmetry between the lives of the four child stars. There are times when the scenes sync up to show the babies interacting with cats (except Ponijao, who only seems to have dogs around), or seeing them each start to crawl, or talk, or take their first steps. Aside from these few sections the movie appears to basically just be running the clock out showing cute and/or interesting moments, and given the overall brevity of the piece it would seem that they were lacking for material.

I can think of no reason why anyone should want to pay money to see this movie. I'm not saying it should not have been made, and I'm not even saying it's not art, I'm just saying that if you are able to read this and you want to watch cute baby videos then head over to YouTube and search for some. Seeing the differences in the way children are raised between the different cultures is interesting, and with narration to explain why some of what was happening was happening would have made this a very interesting documentary. As presented it is just a cute fluffy experience that could be arrived at by looking at pictures of LOLbabies.

The best thing about this movie is that the lack of narration does make for some wonderful opportunities to add your own dialog for the babies, but unless you're in it for the cuteness overload then that's it. I would strongly suggest you save your money, but if you do want to see four cute babies doing cute baby things then “Babies” is in theaters now.

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