Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Review by Muchacha Motorista

Do you love babies? Are you expecting? Do you have a toddler? Are you willing to risk your head exploding from cuteness overload? Then I fully recommend the new Focus Features film: Babies.

The film is a simple and brilliant idea: follow four babies in very different environments throughout their first year. Add some background music. No narration, no translation... no speaking at all except for adults now and then quietly in the background away from any microphone. Each of the babies is insanely adorable, and just gets cuter as the year goes on.

Bayar from Mongolia comes home from the hospital tightly swaddled and carried on the back of a motorcycle (with Dad, Mom, and brother on the same bike). The baby is constantly surrounded my animals, be it a rooster on the bed, a goat drinking from the bath water, or cows trying to step over the new crawler.

Mari, from Tokyo, lays in a bassinet that rocks her to sleep overlooking a view of city lights. She gains increased manual dexterity by holding the tiny stickers (found in any stationary shop in Japan) and practicing sticking them on paper.

Ponijao from Namibia gets his first haircut by a sharpened knife (I'd never trust myself to be steady enough, but his mother knows what she's doing!). He learns to walk quickly, and run too, and plays a motor skills game of balancing a piece of wood or bone on his head while walking.

Hattie, from San Francisco, plays in the spa with her mom and takes showers with dad. She looks through her books for pictures of animals, giving the sounds that animal makes.

All this to say, the common theme is the four babies growing from newborns, still and fragile, to sitters, crawlers, standers, and sometimes walkers... in their own way, and in their own families, and in their own corners of the world.

My son, Sombrerito, is just rounding off his second year, so this movie made me especially nostalgic for the excitement of seeing our own little one grow into himself. In fact, he even watched some of the movie with me (he says, "watch babies!"), and when he did it felt suddenly like one of the infant programs they have on DVD where it's basically a video of babies hanging out, going to the farm, etc. Some of the babies and mothers appear naked, but nothing vulgar in the least. As for his movie review, he liked when Bayar says, "Mama! Mama!" for the first time (he pointed to me and gasped, as though shocked that this other baby knew me too), and when Hattie takes her little trike over the wavy slide in the park.

There are only two Bonus Features, each around three minutes long. One is a slideshow of "Everybody Loves... Your Babies Sweepstakes Winners," which is just alright, though the kids in the pictures are very cute. But the other is worth any blockbuster film's hours of extra footage... "The Babies--Three Years Later" is a short little wrap-up. The director comes back to visit each family and the children (now aged 4), and show them the finished film. It is just touching to see them healthy, happy, and growing, and see the family's relive the first year so tenderly.

It all comes down to this: Babies is a fully sweet and delightful movie. HOWEVER, I suggest you watch the preview first, as the movie is an hour and nineteen minute version of that exact thing (in this case, the preview is completely accurate). If you find the preview adorable, you'll love the movie. If it left you bored then it isn't for you.


I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period.

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