Babies (2010)

Babies
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General

Director: Thomas Balmes
Actors:

Directed by award-winning film-maker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, this film simultaneously follows four babies around the world - from birth to first steps. The children are, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. Re-defining the non-fiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 79mins
Origin: FRANCE
Aspect Ratio:
Audio Formats: French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
Baby got back
by Simon Miraudo,

Well, they certainly weren’t lying when they called this movie Babies. It is all babies, all the time. On a scale of one to a hundred (one featuring no babies at all, and a hundred featuring all the babies in all of existence) this film could still only be classified as ‘babies’. I’m not going to lie to you: if you don’t like babies, there is not going to be much in this movie for you. Director Thomas Balmès (executing a concept by producer Alain Chabat) follows four babies from four very different regions across the world – Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and the United States. We spend eighty un-narrated minutes with four babies, from birth to their first Bday party. That’s it: uninterrupted babies. I suspect that much in the way the Justin Bieber flick is probably best experienced by pre-exist...

Well, they certainly weren’t lying when they called this movie Babies. It is all babies, all the time. On a scale of one to a hundred (one featuring no babies at all, and a hundred featuring all the babies in all of existence) this film could still only be classified as ‘babies’. I’m not going to lie to you: if you don’t like babies, there is not going to be much in this movie for you. Director Thomas Balmès (executing a concept by producer Alain Chabat) follows four babies from four very different regions across the world – Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and the United States. We spend eighty un-narrated minutes with four babies, from birth to their first Bday party. That’s it: uninterrupted babies. I suspect that much in the way the Justin Bieber flick is probably best experienced by pre-existing Beliebers, Babies should be exclusively reserved for all the baby-aficionados out there. But that might be an insult to the rather good Never Say Never, which offers a far more interesting insight into the tweenage pop culture phenomenon than Babies does into babies.

There are a few intriguing moments, particularly when Balmès directly contrasts the existence of the quartet of babies. Needless to say, the way one baby lives in Namibia – happily left to its own devices in the dirt - is going to be different to the way the babies live in Japan and United States. One fun sequence juxtaposes Japanese bub Mari surrounded by toys, wailing with existential anguish over something known only to babies’ brains. Meanwhile, over in Mongolia, one of the babies - Bayarjargal - gleefully plays with some toilet paper, as if it were the hottest toy on the market. Sure, it’s hardly incisive commentary, but it’s one of the few moments in Babies that feels like it actually has a point, and isn’t just a collection of cute YouTube clips strung-together specifically for clucky moviegoers.

That’s not to say that Babies isn’t an audacious project. The filmmakers trust their gorgeous footage of babies enough to present them with minimal flourishes, and hope non-baby-crazy audience members can still take away something of meaning. I respect that, babies. But come on babies, we’re not talking about Godfrey Reggio’s epic, history-of-the-universe condensed to a music video Koyaanisqatsi here; we’re talking about Babies, a film that strives for “cuteness” rather than any real kind of commentary. I don’t want to sound like a baby-hater (the babies here are indeed cute, so mission accomplished, I guess) but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect something more from a documentary ostensibly about the greatest and truest miracle in the history of existence: babies.

Babies, in general, are adorable, and the babies in the movie Babies are no different. But Balmès respects babies more than his audience. Babies babies its audience by assuming they’ll be pacified by footage of smiling, bouncing babies. I was personally overwhelmed by the non-stop footage of babies, and found myself crying out for just a little something more; something a little less babies. Babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies.

Babies / Babies (or rather, 2/5)

Check out Simon’s other reviews here. 

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Member Reviews (49)

A really sweet film, highly recommended for anyone who loves to see a cute baby or two!
Posted Monday, 17 March 2014 See my other reviews
MsMac
says
I love babies which is why I thought I would like this but I didn't. I turned it off after 20 minutes. I'm sure the rest of the footage would have been cute and well done but I couldn't handle having no narration.
Posted Sunday, 13 October 2013 See my other reviews
bb
says
Read a lot of reviews about this 'after' I'd already ordered but was pleasantly surprised. We sat through the whole thing, despite no narration I thought the story unfolded nicely. Great snapshot at cultures and human nature, simple and fun choreography and long shots. Edited well. Kept me interested...
Posted Friday, 19 July 2013 See my other reviews
Petra Kaye
says
The biggest smiles are on the kids playing in the dust - not the ones in the expensive baby bouncers.
Posted Wednesday, 12 June 2013 See my other reviews
Lisa
says
Amazing footage, a beautiful message for new fretful parents
Posted Friday, 3 May 2013 See my other reviews
KWAKA
says
Ok watching
Posted Sunday, 7 April 2013 See my other reviews
buckedy
says
Was gonna give this doc a 2/5, but Quickflix said that indicated it was a bad flick. Far from it - I thought this film was well done, it made my girlfriend and I smile & giggle quite a bit throughout, but didn't really 'blow my socks off'. No probs, couldn't state how I think it'd be a better film, but not a 5-star all the same.
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2013 See my other reviews
Annie S
says
Was this a movie? Or was it a collection of doting parents' sweet little videos of their little darlings? Couldn't bear to finish watching this one. It's only of interest to the parents of these babies. Unless you're one of them give it a big miss.
Posted Saturday, 22 December 2012 See my other reviews
Jumbuck
says
More mewling brats than I could take... but if that's your style there's 'Call the Midwife', 'One Born Every Minute', etc.
Posted Monday, 15 October 2012 See my other reviews
Nerida
says
Even though i adore babies I found it boring and didn't watch it all
Posted Sunday, 24 June 2012 See my other reviews
Suzie
says
No commentary - just music and the pictures. Quite boring in the 2nd half.
Posted Friday, 8 June 2012 See my other reviews
Natalie
says
Enjoyable but that is babies
Posted Monday, 28 May 2012 See my other reviews
Phyllis Foundis
says
Proof positive that baby love is a universal language. A gorgeous documentary - without words - chronicling the first year in a babe's life. The viewer adopts the role of an extra family member as we get up close and personal with mothers and fathers in the most diverse corners of the globe... from consumerism heaven U.S.A through to the wild terrain of Mongolia. Funny, heartfelt moments abound. A joy.
Posted Sunday, 22 April 2012 See my other reviews
RKB
says
Beautiful.
Posted Saturday, 14 April 2012 See my other reviews
Tiinaballeriina
says
Absolutely one of the best things I've ever seen. Please note it is a documentary_ no commentary needed. Extra foootage shows the bebies 3 years later.
Posted Tuesday, 6 March 2012 See my other reviews
Spock
says
Lovely film - highlights the extraordinary differences in the way we raise babies in different parts of the world. Mothers, if you suffer from guilt over feeding non-organic mashed vegetables, using childcare or not reading to your 3 month old every day, you should watch this film to become aware of what pampered little children we have here in Australia!
Posted Monday, 5 March 2012 See my other reviews
Helen
says
Outstanding documentary/movies for people of all ages. Wonderfully crafted, exploring the lives of babies all over the world. Very insightful - great for children to watch too. Mine enjoyed it as much as we did. For a movie with "no words" it was captivating. Highly recommended.
Posted Tuesday, 28 February 2012 See my other reviews
Jo
says
Loved it. Don't know if you'll be as into this movie if you haven't had kids. Wonderful to see how similar babies are around the world despite the differences in their upbringings.
Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 See my other reviews
Marg
says
Loved it. Fascinating to watch and wow - what a difference between cultures. Although there are still similarities with children across the globe - especially when something is 'mine'!
Posted Monday, 13 February 2012 See my other reviews
Pen
says
Loved this movie. It was interesting to see how the different cultures treat their young. My 11 yr old son said "What? A documentary??" But he loved it, and watched it twice with his twin sisters. Probably best appreciated by mums; I'm wishing I'd got more video footage of my kids when they were young - they grow up so fast :)
Posted Monday, 13 February 2012 See my other reviews
Cat
says
Very cute movie.
Posted Friday, 10 February 2012 See my other reviews
sunnycoastgirl7
says
Yes.... this movie is all about Babies but that's exactly what the title and explanation of the movie explains if you read the review. This is a documentary about 4 different babies in 4 different countries and the Director has captured every moment in an incredible way. I wanted to see this movie on the big screen as I was told the cinematography was excellent and it didn't disappoint on DVD. If you are going to have a baby or are a parent this is a really interesting doco and is amazing how much we fuss over our children in the western world.
Posted Monday, 23 January 2012 See my other reviews
jo
says
not what i was expecting. its ok to have on in the background. kinda interesting, but not very exciting to watch
Posted Sunday, 22 January 2012 See my other reviews
Nicky
says
It was very cute but with no narration there was no context. I wanted to get to know the families. It would have made the cute footage a lot more meaningful. I have children and find them adorable but I wanted to know the parents and families as well.
Posted Friday, 20 January 2012 See my other reviews
Miranda
says
Really enjoyed this movie/documentary! Having had four children it brought back memories! Loved seeing how babies are reared in different cultures! Beautiful imagery!
Posted Thursday, 19 January 2012 See my other reviews
TF
says
My 5 yr old twin boys watched this with me and it gave them good insight as to how lucky they really are. I thought it was beautiful
Posted Sunday, 15 January 2012 See my other reviews
Al
says
Loved it
Posted Thursday, 12 January 2012 See my other reviews
Yuki
says
beautifully shot, adorable babies
Posted Thursday, 15 December 2011 See my other reviews
Michelle
says
This move really hits home when you have little children. A movie all parents should see - it really puts everything in perspective!
Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 See my other reviews
Stigglepot
says
Absolutely brilliant. Shows that although we may look different, we are really all the same.
Posted Friday, 9 December 2011 See my other reviews
theemjway
says
Very cute but a little too long
Posted Wednesday, 30 November 2011 See my other reviews
justine
says
very enjoyable movie with great cinematography
Posted Monday, 28 November 2011 See my other reviews
Tina
says
Really Loved this one 10/10 for me. To be able to see these four babys from birth to first steps in four parts of the world was so intresting especially if you have your own child. Makes you think alot.
Posted Wednesday, 16 November 2011 See my other reviews
Taryn
says
Not too sure on this one. Very cute but no real storyline and no narration, but sat through it anyway as I have two under 2 children and found the babies cute,
Posted Thursday, 10 November 2011 See my other reviews
Wellie
says
Apart from the fact that it made me extremely Clucky! I LOVED THIS DOCUMENTARY!!
Posted Thursday, 3 November 2011 See my other reviews
Lozi
says
I really enjoyed this. I meant to watch it on my own while my fiance was loading his truck HOWEVER he passed though and got sucked into watching it also. A movie that is really for people who have had children :)
Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 See my other reviews
Andrew
says
A doco with no narration - just footage of 4 differnet bubs from different parts of the world: Mongolia, Tokyo, San Franciso and Africa. It's very interesting to see how each are raised and nurtured - some obvious differences, but it doesn't seem to be at the expense of the youngsters. In fact, it's almost like the children from the 3rd world countries develop quicker. We got some laughs out of the little Mongolian boy too, quite the mischief maker. 3 and half stars.
Posted Tuesday, 25 October 2011 See my other reviews
spotlight
says
Nice way to pass the time on a Friday night - I would love to see a follow up called Toddlers!
Posted Saturday, 15 October 2011 See my other reviews
Coulinjo
says
This made fascinating watching. I didn't really know what to expect from this but it was funny and interesting and extremely watchable. I'd highly recommend it to anyone; you don't have to have an interest in babies, it's a study in different cultures.
Posted Tuesday, 11 October 2011 See my other reviews
William C
says
warm and insightful
Posted Friday, 30 September 2011 See my other reviews
Boo
says
I appreciate that this was a very well made documentary and also very sweet.....however i was a little bored at times... feel almost guilty admitting it!
Posted Thursday, 29 September 2011 See my other reviews
Alicia
says
A good film, intriguing if you are interested in other cultures.
Posted Wednesday, 28 September 2011 See my other reviews
Lulu
says
PERFECT and awesome
Posted Thursday, 22 September 2011 See my other reviews
victoria
says
Such a beautiful film with some amazing images. Highly recommended
Posted Wednesday, 21 September 2011 See my other reviews
Elissa
says
Not many words but none needed. Just lovely!
Posted Tuesday, 20 September 2011 See my other reviews
S
says
Fantastic light hearted film. Very interesting how different the environments and upbringings are. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! leaves you laughing and smiling :)
Posted Wednesday, 7 September 2011 See my other reviews
sab
says
no talk a all during the whole movie. didn't find it interesting at all.
Posted Tuesday, 6 September 2011 See my other reviews
cass
says
we all enjoyed it very much very good for a chuckle and also amazing seeing how different we are with our babies
Posted Tuesday, 6 September 2011 See my other reviews
Michael S
says
Wow. Quiet and slow. Always fascinating, often made us laugh
Posted Wednesday, 31 August 2011 See my other reviews
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