Babes REVIEW – Quite the Bundle of Joy

It's both touching and flat-out hilarious.


Dawn (Michelle Buteau) and Eden (Ilana Glazer) meet every Thanksgiving for a movie date. Dawn’s heavily pregnant, but that’s not going to prevent her from keeping her yearly tradition with her best friend. And even when she does go into labour, the pair still find time to go for brunch. It’s a hilarious way to open the movie, and the contrast between Buteau’s painful howls and Glazer’s calm, unfazed demeanour will definitely leave you chuckling.

It is on her way back home that Eden meets Claude. They connect on so many levels – it’s honestly a really sweet meet-cute – and they inevitably end up back at Eden’s. Months after, Eden finds herself pregnant, and with Claude not a part of the picture, she’s depending on Dawn to support her and show her the ropes when it comes to motherhood. But Dawn has struggles of her own too, even though she’s on child number 2, and that’s the point. Every pregnancy brings something new, be it the process or the aftermath. Babes is an honest, truthful exploration of the realities of pregnancy, and it’s refreshing to see a movie that handles both sides to it as Eden’s starting her pregnancy journey, while Dawn’s just had her second child.

Dawn and Eden’s friendship is enviable stuff. They speak so candidly with each other, and can be truly vulnerable with one another. Both Buteau and Glazer do an amazing job of making us feel the years and history in the friendship – they’re also incredibly funny women, and commit wholeheartedly to each comedic set piece. There are also smaller moments that are just absurdly funny; even something as simple as watching Eden climb stairs with groceries while heavily pregnant can make us guffaw aplenty.

At the same time, having a child also changes the dynamic of all your friendships. Before, Dawn had more time for Eden, but now with two children in tow, the cancellations seem to stack up and the time spent together is superficial and fleeting. Even adulthood has phases, and both women are at different points. Eden is depending so much on Dawn to be there for her during her pregnancy, but this full-time commitment might not be possible given Dawn’s own commitments to her family as well as her work. It’s sad because these friendships and relationships once meant the world to us and took up so much space in our lives, but now we push them to the peripheries of our lives because our families become our priority.

Dawn’s storyline highlights the paradoxical nature of parenthood – she misses her kids when she’s not with them, and yet when she is, she feels trapped and suffocated. There’s a yearning to be free but also the guilt that comes with it. And with children come the realisation that as much as you hate work, you have to work because you need to support your family. In his poem ‘Toads’ Philip Larkin exclaims: “Why should I let the toad work squat on my life?”, but at the end realises that without work he can’t sustain his dreams. That is adulthood in a nutshell, a never-ending, exhausting slog, all the way till we kick the bucket. But it’s beautiful too.

Babes is just a wonderfully funny, heartwarming movie, and will make you look at the idea of prom with a whole new lens.

Review screener provided.

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Babes may be a portrayal of the unglamourous truth of pregnancy, but the film itself is joyous. It's warm and hilarious, and the female friendship at the centre of it makes this well worth a watch.