What is a masterpiece? One might come to ponder. Cinematically, one might point to films such as Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane, or Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both have their own personal merits, but might I suggest a different approach, a film oft overlooked: Baby Geniuses.
The premise of the film is a simple one. A faculty of scientists uncover that babies are born with vast knowledge of the universe, and can communicate through an otherwise indecipherable language, Babytalk, which they lose once they reach toddler age and learn regular human speech. At first glance, this obviously appears ridiculous, especially when exposed to the rest of the plot, which includes an intricate, multi-dimensional mission that the babies undergo whilst speaking to each other in a language that only the audience is privy to.
This is genius. No pun intended.
The story plays out as a comedy on the surface level, but a deeper analysis reveals the far more layered and complex social commentary expressed by the film. Baby Geniuses is, at heart, a story about human arrogance and true humility. Whilst stuck in the shell of a primal creature such as a baby, one’s soul is not only pure, filled with wonder and childlike glee, but intellectual and comprehensive of the universe in ways that are unable to be understood by adult creatures. In Baby Geniuses, adults are disregarded, and their need to understand and control the babies showcases the deep-seated insecurities that plague us all. By subverting the idea of strength and physical intimidation as indicators of intelligence and instead applying truthfulness to the most vulnerable and embarrassing of creatures, Baby Geniuses shows a true universal understanding.
Perhaps perception is flawed, and only as a baby, free from societal pressures that constantly push individuals towards pride and cruelty, can one truly be in touch with the realities of nature.
The film is subtly feminist in this way. While the female characters do not a major impact on the story, the narrative of strength and masculine domination as symbols of intelligence in contrast to the female vulnerability and emotionality as symbols of weakness is very familiar.
Baby Geniuses: Forever snubbed by the critical community for its expression of deep, intellectual truths and complex relationships in a simple premise.
Overall Rating: 10/10
Written By: June Rossaert