Casa de los Babies: John Sayles Ensemble Drama about Women Waiting to Adopt

Casa de los Babys, like John Sayles disappointing feature Men With Guns before it, suffers from an abstract treatment, beginning with the story’s locale, which is never made specific.

An ensemble drama, like most of Sayles’ movies, this one centers on six American women stuck in a South American hotel, waiting to adopt babies from a local orphanage, while fighting bureaucratic hurdles, lack of support back home, and other obstacles.

Sayles treatise on maternity and conflicting cultures is schematic and his mode is didactic rather than dramatic. Casa de los Babys doesnt reveal new insights about motherhood or about conception versus adoption that the public didnt already know. Issues of First World exploitation of Third World countries are used and explained in an obvious way. The women’s background stories are superficially sketched, which turns them into representations of types rather than three-dimensional individuals.

What a waste of talents, considering that Sayles has cast some of the best actresses working today, including Marcia Gay Harden, Daryl Hannah, Lili Taylor, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

With “Casa de los Babies,” Sayles again proved that he was lagging way behind the zeitgeist.