Gayby Baby Review: Largely crowd-funded and shot observationally, this is a truly wonderful film…
In this age of social consciousness, family models are no longer solely nuclear – same-sex, co-parented, single, fostered, the list could go on – so what better way to observe and understand that there are familial and parental similarities across the varying models than through the eyes of children and documented by a director who shares in their perspective.
Largely crowd-funded and shot observationally, director Maya Newell’s documentary Gayby Baby is an intimately personal and unbiased take on the lives of children growing up in same-sex families. Speaking for themselves, the children reveal life and familial issues that are relatable within most homes, whether we can admit it to ourselves or not. Supported by her parents, singer Ebony is nervously hopeful about her audition for gaining acceptance into a performing arts school whilst they simultaneously struggle with her little brother’s ill health. Wrestling lover Gus can get a little too enthusiastic about his WFF re-enactments and sometimes accidently hurts his little sister who is often along for the ride whilst his mothers try to moderate his passion. Matt tries to understand why his mother remains faithful to a religion that believes that he is being raised in a sinful and harmful environment.
But what sets Ebony, Matt, Gus or even Graham apart from other children and other families is the societal bigotry that makes them feel as if ‘they’re not normal’; that they should hide away from who they are, who their parents are because a few members of society are uncomfortable with changing dynamics. Nothing new there really. In one sadly, disturbing moment, Newell observes Graham – an adopted child struggling to catch up academically from his years in the foster system – being told by his parents not to openly reveal that he is being raised by two dads because Fijian culture may not be as accepting.
It is this devaluation of their lives and the parents who love them unequivocally is the reason why the public need to see it and why school children particularly, should see it. It’s for them; to see how one’s actions or opinions affect others; that love doesn’t and shouldn’t, have boundaries.
Tightly framed to stay intimate with the audience, Gayby Baby is a wonderful film that should be shared with everyone.
Spread that love Baby!
Gayby Baby review by Sacha Hall, October 2015.
Gayby Baby was reviewed at the BFI London Film Festival.