Movie Mom

Movie Mom


posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for cultural and maternal nudity throughout
Nudity/Sex:Portrayal of cultures with different standards about which body parts should be covered, nude babies
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:May 7, 2010
DVD Release Date:September 28, 2010
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for cultural and maternal nudity throughout
Profanity: None
Nudity/Sex: Portrayal of cultures with different standards about which body parts should be covered, nude babies
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: None
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date: May 7, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a Blu-Ray/DVD or Babies carseat!

Until they make a movie entirely consisting of raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, Hallmark cards, and puppies in the window, this will hold the record as the most awwwwwww-inspiring movie ever made.

Director Thomas Balmes and his crew take us into the lives of four brand-new people and their families, babies in Tokyo, Mongolia, Namibia, and San Francisco. And that’s it. Babies sleeping, babies getting dirty, babies getting clean, babies crying, babies being comforted, babies smiling, babies playing, babies learning, learning, learning — and babies teaching everyone around them, too, to the narration-free accompaniment of a wistful score from “Coraline’s” Bruno Coulais.


Each of the stories is touching. The deepest part of our nature as humans wonders at and cares for these magical creatures, who zoom from newborns to people who can walk and talk and have views in a matter of months. The connections between these babies and their families are a powerful reminder of all we share, but the contrasts are a powerful and sometimes disturbing reminder of the distance between us. American parents who carefully strap our babies in car seats and boil their pacifiers every time they fall on the floor will find it unsettling to see all four members of the Mongolian family climb on a motorcycle and the Namibian baby sucking on a bone she dug out of the dirt. And they may wince at the casual plenty of the American baby’s books and toys or the casual smugness of the music class where the parents and their babies sing a Native American song in some reach for the kind of authenticity the African baby comes by naturally — and pays for with limited opportunities for health care and education. The credit sequence gives us a glimpse of the babies today (age 4). Our greatest wish for these babies may be that before they are old enough to be rocking their own children to sleep we find a way to do more to protect the health and safety of all of the world’s children.

  • Felix

    “The deepest part of our nature as humans wonders at and cares for these magical creatures…” ?? Don’t be afraid to lay on the hyperbole nice and thick, Ms. Minow. In any case, I guess I must be terminally ill or something since I’m not frothing at the mouth to have a kid nor protect anyone else’s. A cat and a dog will do just fine (and be a lot less trouble).

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for the comment, Felix, much appreciated. Raising babies is one of life’s greatest and most profound experiences, but it is far from the only one. I was referring to the part-biological, part-evolutionary, part-spiritual combination of impulses that make us willing to care for our offspring despite all of the “trouble.” I’m glad that you have found creatures to care for and I’m sure you have observed a form of that behavior in your animals as well. There are some adorable cats and dogs in the movie, too, so maybe you will enjoy it.

  • karen

    I want to bring my two kids (3 and 7) . how graphic are the childbirth scenes (could they be scary to the kids?)

  • Nell Minow

    I think 3 is too young and only you know if the 7 year old will be interested. The childbirth scene is just a second or two and not at all graphic — all you see is the baby that has just been delivered. If you do go, let me know what you think!

  • karen

    sorry. last you think it won’t hold the 3-year-old’s interest? He LOVES babies, so I thought he would like it, but he has never been to a movie before, of course, so I don’t really know. However, he loves the Planet Earth series. Does the story move slowly? Is there a baby on screen the whole time almost? thank you

  • Nell Minow

    Karen, I love questions! Ask as many as you like. The babies are on screen most of the time. If the 3 year old loves babies and the Planet Earth series he may enjoy this, though a movie is much more overwhelming than watching at home. The babies are never in any danger but they do things we tell them not to do — put a hand in a dog’s mouth, eat dirt, etc. Would that bother him?
    If you think he’d like it, take him, but tell him ahead of time that if he feels restless he can sit on your lap. And then if he does get restless, leave the theater having enjoyed as much as he wanted to see.

  • Elizabeth

    I took my 6 year old daughter to see this movie and she loved it! There were parts she really found funny…the one baby unrolling all the toliet paper, the baby boys lifting up their privacy coverings and laughing at their penis’s for example. She also has watched her younger brother be born and breastfed so those parts were not frightening or unusual to her. I think it depends on the child. Overall an excellent movie on differences of how babies are nurtured and loved in different cultures.

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you, Elizabeth! Much appreciated.

  • sarah

    As a birth doula, my girls hear a lot about birth and babies, and we love watching youtube videos about both subjects. So of course when Babies was released….we had to rent it! We watched it last night and absolutely loved it.
    My three year old watched it while coloring. She liked it, but I don’t think she could have watched it from beginning to end without doing something else. My 5,6,7 year olds, however, were quite fascinated. They, however, decided that it could do without “baby tee tees” and kept hiding their faces. haha the mama nudity didn’t bother then a bit.

  • Nell Minow

    Oh, I love this comment, Sarah! Many thanks and warmest best wishes to you, your family, and the babies you help bring into the world.

  • Margaret

    So much to discuss and wonder at after watching this documentary. My teenage girls couldn’t get over the breatfeeding and nipples exposed. They also couldn’t believe the American mother didn’t put a bathing suit on in the hottub when she had a film crew nearby. We expected the African baby to come running through the scene where the Japanese baby is watching the tiger through the glass. All in all the movie proves that man does not have to be born into prosperity to survive– all life is precious and valuable. The American baby seems to have the least actually– as far as stimulation, excitement, and love of the earth are concerned.

  • Nell Minow

    Well said, Margaret! I’m so glad you and your daughters watched it together. The differences between the families are fun to see but it is the similarities that are the most touching.

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