The French film Baby Love (Comme les Autres), screening Tuesday and Friday at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, is a crowdpleaser about a likeable gay pediatrician who wants to be a dad, and the injustice of France’s anti-gay adoption laws.
Manu (French star Lambert Wilson) feels his own biological clock ticking and tries to adopt a baby behind the back of his tough lawyer boyfriend Philippe (Pascal Elbe), But Philippe says he’s not ready to start a family and moves out. When social services discover Manu is gay, he is shut out of the legal adoption system and begins searching for a surrogate.
A chain of events occur that has Manu striking a deal with an Argentine immigrant (Pilar Lopez De Ayala) that's meant to serve both their needs: They marry so she can get a work permit and he can have a baby. Predictably, the plan backfires (or at least has complications) and Manu must face the consequences of his actions.
Even though Philippe is an attorney, Baby Love avoids any discussion of actually fighting the system, focusing instead on those who seek makeshift solutions to the dilemma. For all of its buildup, though, the film’s resolution seems conveniently tidy (if not a bit rushed), providing a sentimental Hollywood-style ending that still satisfies.
With its frothy, somewhat sugar-coated approach, Baby Love is the kind of film that can change hearts and minds about what makes a family. With some states in the U.S. currently denying adoptions to gay families, this is a story that is ripe for an American version with an equally stellar cast.
Screening at the Palm Springs International Film Festival
Tuesday, January 13, 7:30 PM
Friday, January 16, 10:30 AM