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Casa de los Babys (2003)

Angelina Peláez , Lizzie Curry Martinez , John Sayles  |  R |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Angelina Peláez, Lizzie Curry Martinez, Vanessa Martinez, Amanda Álvarez, Said Martinez
  • Directors: John Sayles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 13, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001EQIF6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,810 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Casa de los Babys" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette
  • "Beyond Borders" documentary
  • "On Location with John Sayles" documentary

Editorial Reviews

John Sayles brings observant compassion and calm insight to Casa de los Babys, a fiercely independent film with a peerless ensemble cast. Dispensing with traditional storytelling to focus instead on the turbulent emotions surrounding the adoption of babies by American women in an unnamed South American country (filmed in Acapulco, Mexico), Sayles takes an unobtrusive approach to their dilemmas, listening (and filming) like an understanding friend to these hopeful women, who are either bound or separated by their disparate personalities. Sayles also covers both sides of the adoption equation by including a Latina mother (Vanessa Martinez), certain that her baby will enjoy a better life with adoptive American parents, but still struggling with the anguish of her sacrifice. This isn't on par with Sayles's best work (and reviews were predictably mixed), but there's not a false note anywhere, and the cast (including Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lili Taylor, Susan Lynch and Mary Steenburgen) is uniformly superb. Sayles isn't playing social commentator here, and that's to his credit. Instead, Casa de los Babys is a sensitive film about a sensitive subject, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Acclaimed filmmaker John Sayles captures six American women at one of the most emotionally charged moments of their liveseach on the verge of adopting a babyin this "compelling" (Chicago Tribune) drama set against the backdrop of a Latin-American town. Featuring an "inspired" (The Miami Herald) all-star cast, this poignant look at fate, maternity and clashing cultures is "as rich in ideas as it is in fine acting" (Los Angeles Daily News).

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Casa de Los Babys October 24, 2003
By W Lang
I found this movie to be very touching and real. It isn't John Sayles best movie, but we've come to expect something totally stunning from him every time. It is however very much worth seeing. It gives a very gritty feeling of being in Mexico waiting to adopt a baby. The women who play the main characters do great acting. They play a cross section of very genuine personality types. No plot, just the drama of daily life in an emotionally volatile situation. Brings up all sides of the issue of adopting babies in foreign countries, including a very moving portrayal of the life of homeless street children.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Written and directed by John Sayles, this is the story of six women who go to a Latin American country to adopt babies. As in other films by this master of cinema, it is not a simple story with a simple ending. Instead, it is a complex political and social tale that can be viewed on many levels.

There is poverty in the country and hard working people. Many of them work at a luxury hotel, owned by Rita Moreno, now actually 73 years old, speaking only in Spanish and looking very nipped and tucked and prosperous. Her brother is the local lawyer. Her son is a political radical who hates the fact that the babies are being taken away. The six women who must wait several months for their babies come from varied backgrounds and each has her own story to tell. There's Lili Taylor who's tired of waiting for a relationship to blossom and wants to have a baby right away. There's Daryl Hannah, who looks gorgeous and works out and is into massage and health food. Later we find out that she's been through three traumatic birth experiences with babies who just didn't make it. There's Maggie Gyllenhal, who's only 24 years old and has gone through lots of fertility procedures to no avail. There's Susan Lynch, who comes from a large Irish family but who is unable to conceive. There's Mary Steenburgen who is the oldest and most religious of the group and is a former alcoholic. There is also Marcia Gay Harden who is indeed the "ugly American". She complains about everything, tries to bribe the lawyer and comes across as racist. And then there is Vanessa Martinez who plays a chambermaid who has given up a baby for adoption several years before.

Another important element in this film are all the "extras", the real people from Acapulco, where this movie was made.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Of John Sayles Best Films June 8, 2005
"Casa de los Babys" is one of director John Sayles best films. It is about six American women who go to Mexico in order to adopt children. The women are played by; Daryl Hannah (Skipper), Lili Taylor (Leslie), Mary Steenburgen (Gayle), Marcia Gay Harden (Nan), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Jennifer), and Susan Lynch (Eileen).

In the opening scene of the movie we see what looks like a hospital with children and a nurse taking care of one of them. The next image we see is of small children sleeping in a carboard box being chased away by a man who claims the box is his. And finally we meet the women how are waiting for a baby. When you see all three scenes played out together it has quite an impact. First we have helpless children who are being taken care of, then we see children who have no one, and women who want to take care of children but our stuck in red tape. Sayles keeps shuffling these images around in our heads until the point where I started to think the movie's supports the actions taken by these women. Because, if these women don't take these children, what kind of life is in store for them anyway?

"Casa de los Babys" though tries to present both sides of the issue. We see the reaction some people have to the idea of Americans coming over and taking their children. One man asks, how would they (Americans) feel if we came over and took their children. And then we see small chidlren playing with used condoms, and wondering where they are going to sleep.

But the movie doesn't present these women as imperialist. As the movie goes on we slowly start to gather who these women are. Sayles has written some truly heartbreaking moments as some of the women describe their failed attempts at having a baby. One woman lost three at childbirth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie that is not a Movie April 14, 2004
John Sayles has a way of taking the filters off our civilization that allows us to observe the people around us in a casual manner without any of the clutter of the 'Hollywood take'. His movies deal with real issues, issues that most people would not think fodder for an interesting film or even story. But with Sayles integrity, his films offer the opportunity to 'overhear' as a hidden observer issues that are usually avoided. Some of his other films - 'Lone Star', 'Secret of Road Inish', 'Passion Fish', 'Lianna', and the much underrated 'Sunshine State', among others - have dealt with one-on-one relationships. In CASA DE LOS BABYS Sayles manages to gather six women waiting in Latin America for a baby to adopt, living in a hotel under the hard thumb control of Rita Moreno (always a joy to see in film!). The women are all unique in their desires to adopt, their backgrounds, their expectations, their inner turmoil and their facades, and Sayles quietly and without much hoopla lets us just observe the playing out of their lives as they wait for their 'new babies'. The story works beautifully, largely due (in addition to the direction and writing) to the quality of performances of the cast: Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Steenburgen, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Lili Taylor, and Susan Lynch. And the Latin women who represent the other side of this quasi- legal adoption agency stance are equally well cast. This is a sleeper movie but one that will say with you long after the quiet credits have completed their role down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 1 day ago by tamara gaddie
4.0 out of 5 stars Another memorable offering from an American treasure
On the surface, this film seems to have little going on. Several childless American women, each with different character traits and backgrounds, travel to Mexico hoping to adopt a... Read more
Published on October 27, 2010 by 410
2.0 out of 5 stars All-star casts gets little to work with
Dynamite casts slowly falls into the oblivion of the script. Not sure what the point of this movie was, as their is no higher moral point conveyed than maybe a couple should adopt... Read more
Published on December 10, 2008 by EugeSchu
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
There's a moment in Johns Sayles' latest film, Casa De Los Babys, that is among the most poignant ever filmed. Read more
Published on September 9, 2008 by Cosmoetica
1.0 out of 5 stars Long, Boring and Pointless
This movie was quite long, and went nowhere. It is about six ladies who go to South America to adopt babies. Read more
Published on February 19, 2008 by R. Perez
4.0 out of 5 stars poetic human slice of life
I got this DVD by accident, having forgotten that I had already seen it several years ago. I rarely watch a movie twice. Read more
Published on March 14, 2007 by Promise
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sayles - character/culture as relevant as space/time
I think Sayles did a great job bringing together a number of very believable characters and just showing them to us for 90-some odd minutes. Read more
Published on November 10, 2006 by Jenny J.J.I.
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual; helplessness and heartbreak; hurry up and wait
Although the story meanders and viewers don't know if a point or resolution will ever be reached, the struggle, helplessness and frustration of the situation illustrated in the... Read more
Published on March 15, 2005 by EriKa
1.0 out of 5 stars Would you like milk and sugar, Madge? Cookies?
If I want to hear women talk for an hour and half, I'll arrange a coffee klatch. It might be slightly more expensive, but it sure as hell will be a lot more entertaining.
Published on February 26, 2005 by David Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars fascinating social drama with a dribble-away ending

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... Read more
Published on February 2, 2005 by Roland E. Zwick
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