|Casa de los Babys
Sayles directs this with an almost aloof style that simply lets the characters do the talking, while the sunny cinematography expertly captures the images and moods of Latin America. As these desperate and hopeful women interact with each other, trying to figure out who's really deserving of being a mother, we also get to know some of the locals, including a maid (Martinez) with a past, a pregnant girl (Higareda) trapped by her culture's religion and machismo, a group of street kids and the odd family dynamic of the resort owners. The characters are all deeply engaging and beautifully played. Lynch is the standout, with the film's most touching scene, which will probably become a standard actor audition monologue. And Harden also shines as the film's most unsympathetic character. There are startlingly strong statements here--sexism, imperialism, fertility, immigration, abortion, poverty--without ever being heavy handed about it. This isn't a film about drawing conclusions; it's about fairly addressing all sides of the issues and getting into the shoes of each person. Sometimes this feels overwhelmingly talky and girly, and slightly too comprehensive, but the film is made with such a light touch that it really gets under our skin ... and helps us fully understand.
dir-scr John Sayles
with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden, Susan Lynch, Mary Steenburgen, Lili Taylor, Rita Moreno, Vanessa Martinez, Martha Higareda, Guillermo Ivan, Hector Mujica, Pedro Armendariz Jr
release US 19.Sep.03; UK Oct.03 lff
Breakfast al fresco: Gyllenhaal and Harden.
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