Watching “Babies”

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Yesterday I went to perhaps a perfect film for Mother’s Day: Focus Films’ “Babies,” which follows four babies from different parts of the world from birth until they begin to walk. The film has absolutely no commentary: all the audience knows is what it sees. And there is a lot to look at.

The babies grow up in radically different environments; the two that are rural—Namibia and Mongolia— are less affluent than the two that are urban—Tokyo, Japan and San Francisco, California and there is a wide variety in toys and child-rearing techniques. But what struck me the most was how similar the babies’ development was. I came away from the movie with the impression that all babies are pretty much alike: adorable.

The only problem that I had with the film was its limited scope. There were no explanations whatsoever. We’re not even sure if two of these babies have siblings (although the child from Namibia had no lack of playmates.) But then the focus was meant to be on the babies and as long as you’re okay with that, you’ll enjoy the movie immensely.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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