Babies Thomas Balmes

Babies Thomas Balmes
The best moment in Babies comes when Hattie (an infant from San Francisco) lies on a carpet and simply stares at the vacuum cleaner being operated next to her. The look on her face is intense, a mixture of awe, fear and confusion; it causes one to consider how strange it must be to see a vacuum for the first time. I also liked the opening scene: a long, unbroken take in which two Namibian babies play with rocks, fight, retaliate, cry, ignore each other, run off and behave in a manner that could be described as passive-aggressive. I would have appreciated more moments like that from Thomas Balmes' documentary, which cuts back and forth between four babies in San Francisco, Tokyo, Mongolia and Namibia with a lack of patience more in line with a cutesy YouTube video. Devoid of any clear thesis or real structure, the film captures plenty of neat little moments, but they're over too quickly; Balmes is always too eager to cut to the next thing instead of simply and patiently observing his infant subjects as they become acquainted with the world around them. Now, don't get me wrong; I like this movie. It's a documentary about friggin' babies, for crying out loud. If you're in the market for a film with babies being adorable, this movie will give you babies being adorable. This is a pleasant, sometimes fascinating documentary, but something a little slower, a little more meditative and I daresay a little longer would have done a better job showing us the world from these babies' eyes. DVD extras include "Babies ― Three Years Later" (still pretty cute) and a montage of "Everyone Loves Babies" contest winners (also pretty cute). (Alliance)