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Casa de los Babys Review

By Shawn McKenzie 10/19/2003

Some directors just can’t please me.  John Sayles is one of them.  Ever the optimist, I went into Casa de Los Babys with an open mind.  After seeing it, my mind closed again.


Six women have come to the Casa de Los Babys, a hotel run by the owner Señora Muñoz (Rita Moreno) and her brother Ernesto (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.), in order to wait out a red tape wait to adopt a baby.  The hotel is located in an unnamed South American country, and they are going through some hard times.  Skipper (Daryl Hannah) is a new age woman from Colorado obsessed with fitness.  She wants to adopt a baby after suffering three miscarriages.  Nan (Marcia Gay Harden) is a nasty Midwestern woman.  She is the most affluent of the women, but she is also a kleptomaniac.  Gayle (Mary Steenburgen) is a recovering alcoholic.  Leslie (Lili Taylor) is a single New York publisher that the rest of the women think might a lesbian.  She just doesn’t want a man, and even resists the advances of Reynaldo (Guillermo Iván Dueñas), a good-looking local beach dweller.  Reynaldo, by the way, is the unknowing father of the baby of 15-year-old Celia (Martha Higareda) who is being pressured to give up her child for adoption.  Jennifer (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a woman from New England who thinks a baby might save her marriage.  She is seen arguing with her husband on her cell phone from time to time.  Eileen (Susan Lynch) is an Irish native living in Boston who is spending every cent she has to adopt her child.  She is the one who seems the most adept at being a mom, when she buys a book for an illiterate kid intending to rob her and tells her dreams of motherhood to hotel maid Asunción (Vanessa Martinez), a woman who had previously given up a daughter for adoption.


There isn’t much of a plot to this movie.  It is essentially the six women waiting around the whole time.  There was one touching moment.  Near the end of the movie, Eileen rambles on to Asunción about how she pictures herself as a mother, which the maid doesn’t understand (she doesn’t speak fluent English.)  Asunción in turn tells about how much she regrets giving up her baby for adoption, but hopes a mother like Eileen has her now, which Eileen doesn’t understand (Asunción speaks entirely in Spanish.)  Other than that, the movie drags on like a snail, and then has a quick ending with many loose ends.

I’m still waiting for a John Sayles movie that I can enjoy, but Casa de Los Babys is not it.  I’ll keep up hope, but the waiting might take longer than the wait that these mothers endure.

Get the soundtrack featuring a song by Rita Moreno and other songs with a South American flavor:

Buy this album at

Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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