Movies, Documentary
3 out of 5 stars

Are you one of those people who stop a conversation midsentence to coo “awww, a baby” when a stroller passes by with a cute infant in tow? If so, run, don’t walk, to this documentary. If not, you might be bored stiff. That being said, this film, which follows four infants—in Mongolia, San Francisco, Namibia and Tokyo—from first breath to first steps, is so darn adorable it has a lulling effect that will mellow even the most vehement baby haters.

The movie is the brainchild of Alain Chabat, but it’s French director Thomas Balmes who soars, manipulating his footage in such a way that both the universal and the culturally specific elements of these babies’ upbringings are keenly felt. Though you’ll feel a range of emotion—shock when the camera zooms in on a live birth scene, laughter when one infant tries to escape a hippie, eco-baby class, pounding on the doors to get out—sadness is not in this documentary’s vocabulary. All the babies plod along to the soundtrack of Sufjan Stevens’s “The Perpetual Self,” all giggles, adorableness and discovery. It’s infectious; you’ll walk out of the theater feeling happy to be human, wishing you could go out and buy a baby, or at least borrow one for a little while. Then you’ll look at your watch and not believe you spent the past 79 minutes watching babies crawl around—and didn’t mind at all.

By: Joanna Batt


Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Thomas Balmès
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