October 30, 2003

Casa de los Babys

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There are three types of movies. There are the type you walk out of feeling like you’ve just wasted two hours and 10 bucks. There are the type you walk out of on top of the world, thrilled to have been privileged enough to have had such an uplifting experience. Then there are the kind of movies you walk out of feeling utterly depressed.

Casa de Los Babys is definitely one of the third kind. This film by John Sayles follows the stories of six American women who travel to an unnamed, impoverished South American nation with the intent of adopting babies. Each woman is placed in this situation for various reasons — one has decided to give up on men, another is a recovering alcoholic, a third has had three unsuccessful pregnancies — but each shares the common experience of being held captive in a resort meant to keep these American visitors comfortable while wadeing through the local governmental red tape. With little else to entertain them and no other English-speakers in sight, the women unsurprisingly become fast friends.

Peppered throughout this main plot are several other smaller stories of despair. We meet the unemployed construction worker who learned English from watching subtitled movies; the three young children who try to make a buck by washing windshields, reselling used children’s books (which by the way, they themselves are unable to read); the disgruntled resort owner, Senora Mu