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John Sayles Movie ReviewCasa de los Babys

Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Marcia Gay Harden, Daryl Hannah, Lili Taylor, Susan Lynch and Rita Moreno.
Directed by: John Sayles



It's nice to see a strong woman based character piece. Director John Sayles has an eye for talent that's for sure. He's gathered six very individual women to tell his tale of six very individual characters. There's a kettle of talent bubbling before you but it's Marcia Gay Harden that truly steals the film; and within this group that is saying a lot.

Story goes…a group of child-less women find themselves forced into a makeshift community while they await foreign adoption. Each of them for their own personal reasons has traveled to this Latin American location in hopes of adopting a child faster then the American route. They are staying at a pricey resort run by a sharp business woman (Rita Moreno) and trying to keep sane while they jump the hurdles required to get a baby. As they wait for government officials to unravel the red tape we watch their lives commingle and learn about their personalities.

There's Jennifer (Maggi Gyllenhaal). We learn Jenn is from a rich and privileged background. But money doesn't matter when you want a child. Her telephone calls to and from her ever-working spouse allow us to glimpse into a life that may be looking for company more then the rewards of the parent.

Then there's Leslie (Lili Taylor) the tough single mom-wanna-be from New York city. She's got some views on intimacy that'll make you shudder and instantly realize her new baby will be scheduling a high-priced therapist in its future for sure.

Next is Skipper (Daryl Hannah). She appears to have it all. Stunning looks and a beachfront home…but she's is really the saddest of the women. After many miscarriages and lost babies, you're heart is aching as you watch her try and literally "exercise" her demons out.

Soft-spoken Eileen (Susan Lynch) is the motherlyist of the impending mothers. She's got that nurture gene some women are born with. She understands parenting is a privilege not a right or an accessory. We should all get one like this…

Nan (Marcia Gay Harden) on the other side of the nursery field is more like a child in need of a hug then an adult. She's a petty woman that handles the most important of events like a stubborn child winding up into a tantrum fit. When and if she gets a baby one only hopes it'll bring out another side of this self-centered behemoth.

Finally there's Gayle (Mary Steenburgen). Mary's the least decipherable of the women. She observes and judges while remaining neutral for the most part. We get a small glimpse into her ability to condemn without trial and again shudder at her capabilities.

We also see the dramatic differences between the babies in the orphanage awaiting their American benefactors and the local children left on the street to fend for themselves. One gets the feeling there's a bit of emotional direction from Sayles in these scenes and he's attempting to show us, yes how sad the orphans have it, but also how great it is these women go through the bother to "save" these babies.

The film is not for everyone. It meanders towards the soft plot. But the women each deliver memorable performances that linger on days after viewing.

Snack recommendation: An Ortho-Novum Colada



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