Babies

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Babies Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Mesmerizing film for kids and parents who adore wee ones.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 79 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 19 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include curiosity and compassion. The film offers much food for thought about different ways of child rearing: Some babies are in more sterile environments, and others aren’t. Some babies have more access to books and toys, while others make do with plastic bottles and baby goats. On one hand, it shows that babies thrive and find glee in all sorts of situations, but on the other, it makes us think about unfamiliar parenting styles that, if unchecked, could induce judgment calls. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The four babies featured in this documentary are the stars, and in many ways, they remind us of how determined, persistant, curious, interested, and willful we once were.

Violence & Scariness

Not really a concern, except the kids can be hard on pets. Also, some scenes might induce wincing among those unfamiliar with certain cultural traditions, as when a Namibian mother shaves her baby’s head with a knife. Or when a child seems on the brink of disaster, such as when Bajar teeters atop a barrel.

Sexy Stuff

Not an issue, though moms are shown breastfeeding and, in Namibia, topless, as is the custom there.

Language
Consumerism

Hardly an issue, though neon signage (HMV, for instance) is everywhere in Tokyo. Also, titles of books are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Babies -- which features four families from different parts of the world -- holds large appeal for both parents and children alike. There are no subtitles and several different languages spoken, but the universal messages of family and childrearing come through easily. Some families portrayed come from countries where nudity is commonplace (Namibia, specifically), and there are scenes of mothers breastfeeding children, but the images are placed in their social contexts. The movie offers a way for kids to learn about what it’s like to grow up elsewhere in the planet, and to acknowledge differences as well as similarities.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byLgk123 February 29, 2020

Breastfeeding is not “sexy”

This is a visually beautiful movie that quietly illustrates some of the varying ways in which babies from different cultures are raised.
I am disappointed that... Continue reading
Parent of a 2-year-old Written byYoureDoingAGreatJob November 1, 2018

Great for Toddlers

Since there are no words, and no plot to follow, this is great a "baby's first movie". It's like cat videos for cats, toddlers love watching... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMohacas June 2, 2017

Okay

This here is an documentary adventure about four babies being raised in four countries. It tells about highlight's of the four's coming of age, throu... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old December 8, 2017

Good movie

This was a good movie for adults and kids. It tells a lot about different families, and I liked that. I especially liked the part about Namibia; it was very f... Continue reading

What's the story?

Director Thomas Balmes and his crew head to four points on the globe to film four BABIES: Mari of Tokyo, Japan; Bayarjargal (Bayar for short) in Mongolia; Ponijao of Namibia; and Hattie, born in San Francisco. Their everyday lives are captured on film as they discover the world in their first year of life, during which they learn how to discern their parents’ and siblings’-- and even their pets’ -- faces; master crawling and walking; and embark on adventures marked by (and independent of) language, cultural, and geographical differences.

Is it any good?

The filmmakers let the images speak for themselves -- there are no subtitles and little camera trickery -- and the soundtrack, though delightful, doesn’t intrude. It’s just as well: The babies are infinitely watchable. Watch Mari wail and flail over uncooperative toys; Bayar pull rank with a cat; Ponijao attempt to stand up to a cousin; and Hattie find joy in making sounds. To watch the adorable babies is to celebrate infancy, regardless of ethnicity or geography.

Yet, although the filmmakers are presenting their subjects without comment, the juxtapositions of scenes do make a statement. For example, Bajar and Ponijao are free to explore in the muck, literally, while Hattie and Mari are in relatively sterile environments, which begs the question: Does this mean anything? Do Bajar and Ponijao need more tending to, or are they lucky because they are more in touch with nature? (And they seem none the worse for wear for it, either.) Is one way of parenting better than another? There’s certainly lots to ponder: the mysteries of childhood, cultural diversity, and humanity itself.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how babies are raised in different countries: Are there any similarities among the four portrayed here? What are the main differences? Why do you think the filmmakers decided to make Babies?

  • What can we learn from the way babies live in different parts of the world? Did you find yourself making judgments about unfamiliar child rearing practices? Why or why not? Do you think the filmmakers presented the four families objectively -- or was there a bias?

  • How does Babies promote curiosity and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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