7.4/10
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The Business of Being Born (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 9 January 2008 (USA)
Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her ... See full summary »

Director:

Abby Epstein
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mary Helen Ayres Mary Helen Ayres ... Self - Homebirth Midwife in Indiana
Julia Barnett ... Self - Parent (as Julia Barnett Tracy)
Sylvie Blaustein Sylvie Blaustein ... Self - Owner & Director, Midwifery of Manhattan
Louann Brizendine Louann Brizendine ... Self
Michael Brodman Michael Brodman ... Self
Patricia Burkhardt Patricia Burkhardt ... Self
Tina Cassidy ... Self - Journalist and Author of 'Birth'
Ronaldo Cortes Ronaldo Cortes ... Self - Ob / Gyn (as Dr. Ronaldo Cortes)
Robbie Davis-Floyd Robbie Davis-Floyd ... Self - Medical Anthropologist
Eugene Declerq Eugene Declerq ... Self
Abby Epstein ... Self - Filmmaker
Eden Fromberg Eden Fromberg ... Self - Ob / Gyn (as Dr. Eden Fromberg)
Natashia Fuksman Natashia Fuksman ... Self - Doula (Labor Support)
Ina May Gaskin ... Self - Midwife
Nadine Goodman Nadine Goodman ... Self - Public Health Specialist
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Storyline

Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to explore the maternity care system in America. Focusing on New York City, the film reveals that there is much to distrust behind hospital doors and follows several couples who decide to give birth on their own terms. There is an unexpected turn when director Epstein not only discovers she is pregnant, but finds the life of her child on the line. Should birth be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features The Early Show (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Rendezvous
Written by Edward Bilous
Published by Existential Arts
See more »

User Reviews

 
Informative? Yes. Entertaining? (Yawn!)
31 January 2009 | by fwompSee all my reviews

Informative? Sure. Gives a new perspective on a broken system? Definitely. Entertaining? Er ...not really.

After talk-show host Ricki Lake experienced a bad childbirth in-hospital, she decided to try a midwife, and thus THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN was ...um ...birthed. I can't help but think that some of this (not all) was a ploy by Lake to put herself back in the public eye; specifically, the movie industry. Although this is strictly a documentary, and other actors support various causes (from freeing Darfur to Tibetan independence), this one felt a bit more forced.

The reason I say this is that the entire documentary was exceptionally boring and exceptionally lopsided. I work in the medical field (as an RN) but not in an Obstetrics setting. I can, however, vouch for the terrible cost of healthcare and some of the impersonalness of those giving it (as this documentary pointed out). I've heard doctors talking about "tee times" on the golf course and the need to "get home by dinner," so time is a big factor for physicians (the film pointed out that C-section deliveries peek at 4pm — just prior to dinnertime — and again at 10pm — so doctors can get home to bed). Be damned whether the patient needs a C-section or not, doctors force the decision so that they can "get on with their lives." Cut and run! Even with its interesting take on the care of OB/Gyn patients in the U.S., the film never delves outside of the States even though certain statistics are presented (including telling us that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest amongst developed countries). I would've liked to have seen at least one interview with a Japanese midwife or a European midwife, and have them show us how their system works. But we're never give the opportunity to see this for ourselves.

The boring nature of the film is that it never really finds its focus. Although the title of it is The Business of Being Born, it focused more on the plight of midwives and their care of expectant mothers at home or in midwife clinics. We drive around with midwives, trot down the road with midwives, listen to midwives talk on the phone to patients, and get to watch a couple of in-home births. Then we start the entire process over again.

And there's also a brief and confusing stint in which we learn one of the film's producers is pregnant and trying to decide on prenatal care.

All-in-all it's an informative story, but one that might cause a few too many yawns.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Роды как бизнес See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,574, 13 January 2008

Gross USA:

$69,991

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$69,991
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Barranca Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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