Babies (from director Thomas Balmes)

Four babies from four different parts of the world are filmed from birth to age one in the documentary BABIES.  A tiny dirt floor hut in Mongolia, a tent in Namibia, an apartment in Tokyo and a house in San Francisco all represent the different homes for these little ones.  We watch how they bathe, eat and interact with their siblings and pets.  There is no dialogue other than an occasional background chatter of parents, who are almost obsolete other than the occasional hand, arm or breast for feeding.


I’m not sure what I was expecting before I watched BABIES.  For the record, I do not have children but I can tell you I was looking forward to this documentary and I think I’m at the fault for that.  The film follows babies.  Why did I think it would be more interesting?  It is pretty cut and dry.  Take four babies from different parts of the world and watch them grow.  How interesting it ends up being depends mostly on what we might learn or be entertained.  Unfortunately, both were minimal.


Don’t get me wrong, BABIES does reveal the innocents and similarities in babies no matter how differently they are raised by their physical environment.  A child living outside, unwatched on the earth of the ground grows and behaves similarly to a child raised in a secure home with carpet.  Some of those simple tasks as in bathing and eating are all done with different techniques but similar results, the babies eat and the babies get clean.  I guess there isn’t much more a baby does other than go to the bathroom.  The parent’s interaction would have added much needed heart with the trials and happiness that comes along with having babies.  But then again, that would be a totally different documentary and observing emotional environment gets a little tricky.


Director Thomas Balmes executed exactly what he wanted simply with babies in the first year of their life when the parents aren’t looking.  The problem is that alone isn’t very interesting.  BABIES does entertain at times with little lonesome tantrums or glimpses of them figuring things out.  But the best times are usually with their siblings handling the babies, which supports the idea of more interaction or perhaps following the kids at a slightly older age.  But again, the documentary is called BABIES so it is what it is and that is isn’t very interesting.  Maybe they’ll decide to make a sequel named “Toddlers” that I’m sure will be more dramatic.


The four babies, Bayar, Ponijao, Mari and Hattie are absolutely adorable.  They are very sweet and cute to look at with smiles that will melt your heart.  But if the child isn’t yours, a baby gets pretty boring to stare at after awhile.  So if you are looking for some baby enjoyment I recommend checking out laughing babies on YouTube.


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