It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Babies” is the perfect film for anyone who has never had the opportunity to interact with humans at an early age. You may never have had one, held one or baby-sat one, yet remained curious about the infants you see in a park, on the beach, or in baby carriers at the mall. Now a French documentarian has traveled to Africa, Asia and America to bring back charming footage of babies in their natural habitats.
If, however, you've raised children and/or grandchildren, or had little brothers and sisters, the movie may resemble 79 minutes of unpaid baby-sitting. When Baby Mari starts screaming, you're wishing you could turn on the TV and use something bright and noisy as a distraction. But no, you're at a movie. However, maybe “Babies” may be fascinating viewing for babies, just as many dogs and cats have their favorite programs. At last, here's programming for the Mommy & Me screenings.
The babies are cute. Well, all babies are cute. That's just as well, because how could filmmakers audition a baby and wait six months to give it a callback? It's not a baby anymore. The director, Thomas Balmes, has found exemplary babies in Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco, and observes them lovingly as they nurse, play, doze, poke kittens and happily hit one another. The movie is really about the babies, not their parents, and in most cases, we only see those parts of the parents ranking highest on the infant's interest scale: nipples, hands, arms, and male and female chests. Not all of the nipples are real, but the babies don't discriminate as long as they work.
Two of the babies come from poor parts of the world, and two from rich. They seem equally happy and healthy. The Japanese and American babies are subjected to an awesome array of baby training strategies so they can begin climbing the success ladder as early as possible. I have no argument against baby yoga classes, but I have never known a baby who wasn't naturally able naturally to contort itself into alarming positions and get lost in meditation on the spur of the moment.