Inside Out 2009: Baby Love
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Inside Out 2009: Baby Love

Photo courtesy of GAT Productions.

It may only be Tuesday, but for Inside Out, it’s Hump Day; we are right in the middle of the 19th annual queer film fest.
Yesterday, we mentioned a trend we’d noticed this year (and we weren’t the only ones): films that feature gay parenting issues. Festival opener Patrik, Age 1.5 was a rom-com about a couple of Swedish guppies and their struggle to become parents, and tonight, Centrepiece Gala film Baby Love tells the story of a couple of French guppies and their struggle to become parents. Like a bunch of only-slighty-more-masculine Ally McBeals, the gays of Europe are apparently rising up to fight for their right to Have It All. And while maybe that used to mean all the parties, all the drugs, and all the sex, these days it most definitely means all the high-paying jobs, all the tastefully decorated, co-habitated apartments, and, yes, all the babies.
The basic plot of Baby Love has a lot of similarities to Patrik: thirtysomething gay couple makes plans to adopt. Institutional homophobia (now that of Paris, rather than Stockholm) makes this difficult. One of the guys, a pediatrician, is desperate to be a father, one isn’t too keen, and this causes a (SPOILER: temporary!) break-up. But Baby Love skips the lighthearted tone of its Swedish counterpart, going for a more melancholy tale that, despite its apparently “smashing box office records in France,” isn’t nearly so satisfying. Pediatrician Manu has the Baby Fever and doesn’t seem to care what he has to do to get a tot on his knee, going so far as to apply for adoption behind his long-term boyfriend Philippe’s back and then ask that he move out so Manu can pose as straight for the adoption agency (gay adoption being illegal in France). After Philippe justifiably ends the relationship and the adoption agency figures out something swishy is going on, Manu decides that the only logical thing to do is to ask an Argentinian woman named Josefina whose car he hit if she will bear his child in exchange for a citizenship-enabling sham marriage. And when a test reveals Manu is sterile, what can he do but ask Philippe to donate his sperm?
This film does have certain things going for it, such as an appealing cast (particularly the actors playing Josefina and Philippe), and the pretty Parisian backdrop. But there’s something awful about having to watch such a relentlessly, thoughtlessly selfish person walk all over the people who love him again and again. Especially when every single time, he winds up rewarded with everything he ever wanted.
Baby Love screens at 9:30 p.m. at the Isabel Bader; Half Life screens at 9:45 p.m. at the ROM.