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||IMDB Rating: 6.5/10 from 1,869 votes
||Release: 1 January 2004 (Israel) /
||Director: John Sayles,
||Stars: Abel Salas, Amanda Álvarez, Angelina Peláez, Blanca Loaria, Claudia Benitez, Dave Baez, El Flaco de Oro de Acapulco, Emmanuel González, Ignacio de Anda, José Reyes, José Reyes Jr., Lizzie Curry Martinez, Marco Mondragón, Said Martinez, Vanessa Martinez
||Synopsis: The film was made in Acapulco, Mexico. Six women -- dreamy Eileen, abrasive Nan, athletic Skipper, brusque Leslie, vivacious Jennifer and patient Gayle -- are staying at a hotel in Latin America, run by Señora Muñoz. Fed up with the long delays of the adoption system in the United States, they are passing the days waiting to adopt local children to bring back home with them. Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <[email protected]>
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John Sayles, always an intriguing filmmaker, has come up with yet
another conversation-starting film in "Casa de los Babys," a subtle
exploration of the great divide that separates the haves from the
have-nots in this maddeningly imbalanced world of ours. Sayles sets his
story at a "hotel" in South America, one designed to cater specifically
to American women who are waiting to adopt children to take back with
them to the States. Due to bureaucratic red tape, many of the ladies
Sayles introduces us to have been holed up in the hotel for months.
Except for contact with the resort staff and the occasional foray into
the local neighborhood, the women are essentially sealed off from the
cultural and socioeconomic realities of the world around them.
The thing that separates Sayles' work from that of so many other
socially conscious filmmakers is that he is scrupulously fair in his
approach, refusing to pigeonhole any one group of people while allowing
us to see the imperfections and humanity inherent in those on both
sides of the divide. It would have been so easy for him to have
portrayed the women as merely spoiled Americans, exploiting the poor of
the world for their own selfish benefit. Indeed, one of the men who
helps run the hotel decries the ladies as gringo "imperialists,"
looking to buy Hispanic babies as if they were strolling through the
local market. Yet, his mother, who manages the resort and who also
resents the imperialistic tone of some of the women, is pragmatic
enough to know that this is a "business" like any other, and that the
alternative for many of these orphans would be far grimmer if they were
forced to fend for themselves out on the streets. In fact, the children
in the facility, who are well cared for and who have some hope for the
future, are in direct counterpoint to all the youngsters we see who are
living in cardboard boxes, forced to wash windshields, beg from
tourists, or steal to survive.
Of the American women, the most interesting is Nan (beautifully played
by Marcia Gay Harden), who is the most obnoxiously pushy and least
culturally sensitive of the group. We get the feeling that the moment
she gets her hands on her new child, she will go to work draining every
ounce of ethnicity from his or her soul and spirit. The other women are
all far more open and tolerant than she is, being mainly concerned with
filling that childless void located deep within themselves. The film
is, in large part, a series of revealing conversations, in which the
women voice their fears, concerns, visions and hopes about life as a
The movie does an interesting job conveying the universality of
motherhood, for despite the economic and language barriers that
separate them, both the women yearning for babies and the women being
forced to give their babies up for adoption are able to meet on the
common ground of maternity.
In addition to Harden, there are excellent performances from Mary
Steenbergen, Lili Taylor, Daryl Hannah, Maggie Gyllenhall and Susan
Lynch as the American women, and Rita Moreno as the hotel manager who
understands how the world works even if she doesn't fully approve of
it. Each actress manages to create an interesting, fully realized
character out of only a limited amount of screen time.
If there's a criticism to be leveled against the film, it is that
Sayles leaves a few too many loose ends hanging at the end. As a
storyteller, he has never been all that interested in conventional
narrative, so this shouldn't surprise us, but we do sense that he could
have gone a bit further with his characters here. As it is, "Casa de
los Babys" feels somewhat incomplete, more like an exercise - albeit a
fascinating one - than a full-fledged drama. Still, for its clear-eyed,
three-dimensional and nonjudgmental take on a tricky subject, "Casa de
los Babys" is a film well worth seeing.
Tags for Casa de los Babys Full Movie
, Amanda Álvarez
, Angelina Peláez
, Blanca Loaria
, Claudia Benitez
, Dave Baez
, El Flaco de Oro de Acapulco
, Emmanuel González
, Ignacio de Anda
, José Reyes
, José Reyes Jr.
, Lizzie Curry Martinez
, Marco Mondragón
, Said Martinez
, Vanessa Martinez
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