Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|1 hr. 29 min.
|Year of Release:
May 7, 2010 (wide—510+ theaters)
DVD: September 28, 2010
|Hattie (herself), Mari (herself), Ponijao (herself), Bayar (herself)
|Chez Wam, Studio Canal, Amandine Billot, Alain Chabat, Christine Rouxel
|Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast
“Everybody loves… ‘Babies.’”
“Babies” is an accomplished documentary that focuses on exactly what the title suggests: babies. There is no narration, subtitles, or product placements. Even the parents take a backseat as the primary focus remains on how these four brand-new children journey through their first year of life in their given countries.
Excellently shot by Thomas Balmes, we are shown two babies from poorer countries: Ponijao from Namibia, and Bayar from Mongolia. These two are fascinated with what little they have, venturing boldly around dogs, cattle, and goats. They find toys in the simplest of things, such as toilet paper and a dog’s tongue. From the more developed countries is Mari from Japan and Hattie from California. These parents give their children expensive gadgets, academic toys, and classes to help them mentally excel.
Finding this film entertaining truly depends on whether you find enjoyment in watching a baby’s exploration of his world. “Babies” closely follows as the four grow from newborns to adventurous toddlers. As the documentary progresses, an interesting contrast begins to emerge as the audience witnesses how the babies, from opposite ends of the world, entertain themselves. The more developed countries tend to be weary of germs and feel the need to attend baby groups and begin academics early. While the lesser developed countries are extremely poor, their babies appear just as happy and even more adventurous since they’re allowed to roam more freely. Balmes’ excellent direction allows these differences to appear naturally without the sway of a biased narration.
I found no objectionable content in the documentary. However, whether or not, one finds offense in the film depends on their convictions. There’s a lot of maternal nudity in the film. There are several scenes of breastfeeding and the mothers lying unclothed (only breasts shown) with their children. While I find this completely natural, some might feel uncomfortable. The Namibian tribal women regularly walk around topless. Several young children are shown to be wearing little or no clothing, as well. Children’s mischievousness is recorded and shown; some are shown dragging cats around and making their siblings cry. While there’s hardly any dialogue, there is one scene where Hattie’s parents take her to some sort of New Age group where they have a sing along about Mother Earth taking care of them. However, in a humorous, truthful moment, Hattie bolts to the door and attempts to leave.
I recommend “Babies.” If you’re into documentaries or even just love babies for their curious nature, I feel you might thoroughly enjoy the film. While the first part feels a little slow, the film becomes quite enjoyable once the children’s personalities begin to shine as they all interact differently with their unique surroundings. It was the first film in a very long time where I did not feel any spiritual guilt by being entertained. “Babies” helps show just how miraculous of a creation babies are and how much of a blessing they are as stated in Psalm 127:3:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
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