Under Review: ‘Babies’


Documentaries have been used to show social injustice, portraits of historical figures, and areas of earth that are beyond imagination. The new french documentary “Babies” shows us babies and it’s beyond adorable.

“Babies” follows four babies and their families in the first year of life. One baby comes from Namibia, where there is no technology, very little in the way of possessions, and a strong community. Another is from Mongolia and lives in an isolated hut where his family raises livestock. The third is from Tokyo, Japan, and is the first child for the tech savvy couple. The last baby is from San Francisco and is also the first baby for the couple

Through the course of the film, a mainly chronological assortment of clips are shown. Sometimes they correspond with the other babies’ activities (the best is the dancing), but usually they could stand alone. There are no subtitles, but that doesn’t get in the way. You can figure out what the mothers are getting at by their tone.

What is wonderful about “Babies” is getting to see other cultures do something many of us are familiar with: raising a kid. The documentary is an eye-opening experience. When put in comparison with the other cultures, some of the things that the American family does (like putting their child in a hot tub) seem just as absurd as letting livestock around a baby or allowing a baby to chew on a rock or bringing a baby to a mom and baby class. It’s interesting to see that the family that seems to have it best is the Namibian community, where dirt and flies cover the children’s bodies.

There were a few times during the film that the audience collectively drew their breath from shock, but more than often the theatre was full of laughter. Babies are cute no matter and sometimes that’s enough. There are times when “Babies” drags, but I was in my seat until the absolute end of the credits. If you don’t like babies then you’ll probably want to avoid this film, but as long as you’ve got an open mind, you’ll enjoy “Babies.”

“Babies” is currently playing in select theatres and is directed by Thomas Balmes.

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