Thursday, January 13, 2011
Movie Review: Babies
PG (cultural and maternal nudity)
Documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmes charts the simultaneous early development of four babies from different parts of the world, illustrating what makes human life unique, similar and precious wherever it occurs. Training his camera on newborns Hattie from San Francisco, Ponijao from Namibia, Bayarjargal from Mongolia and Mari from Tokyo, Balmes captures everything from first screaming breaths to first steps.
Even though this movie has been out for awhile, since it is a documentary and didn't get as much media attention, I don't think everyone has heard about it. If you have a Netflix account, you can watch this on Netflix instant right now, which is how I watched it.
The documentary features babies from Africa, Mongolia, Tokyo, and the USA. It was absolutely fascinating to me from the very first clip. The babies from Africa were the first to be featured and as the two were playing next to eachother, the younger of the two immediately was trying to copy the older one and wanted to grab the rock that he was using. Of course, then a squabble ensued and one hit the other and then he bit him back. This scenario played out in my household on a daily basis when our boys were little. The point this documentary was trying to make was that no matter where babies are raised and how they are raised, they are just as happy and fulfilled as babies exposed to more industrial/technological advances. The babies in Africa and Mongolia live in such stark contrast to how babies in Tokyo and the US live. Their lifestyles were fascinating to watch.
There was no narration or talking during this movie except for small background conversations. I really wished I could understand what the 2 moms from Africa were saying to eachother. I was wishing the translations were scrolling across the bottom. But, that is the only negative from the movie. The babies were adorable and the featured lifestyles were eye-opening. Do babies really need the hundreds of toys we smother them with here in America or will they be just as happy with their cat or dog and a rock to play with? I had many questions after watching the movie including, where where the fathers/husbands in the African feature?
If you are looking for a relaxing movie to help you wind down at the end of the day, this is it. It is definately a "feel good" kind of movie, but watch out....it may just make you want to have another baby! This movie is appropriate for all ages, but there is many instances of breast feeding and the African mothers are not clothed at all during the movie. This would be a great opportunity to discuss different cultures with your children. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars!