» » Baby Comes Home (1980)

Short summary

A middle-aged couple deals with familial upheaval after giving birth to an unplanned 4th baby 17 years after their last child. The mother wrestles with with fears about aging, the father feels left out and their grown-up children have their own issues.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Rarranere
    I picked up a used copy of this film, which is no longer in print, because I have always liked Colleen Dewhurst. She can really do no wrong as an actress and you get the sense that she is elevating Baby Comes Home to a level it would not reach with a lesser talent playing the lead.

    As the previous review states, Dewhurst's character is Anna Kramer, a woman in her late 40s who has just had a baby. She was apparently unprepared for the extent to which this event would turn her life on end. Her behaviour soon has her husband, mother and grown children baffled. Previously a happy, self-assured person, Anna turns into a near agoraphobic, literally getting lightheaded at the thought of leaving the house. She is suddenly terrified of getting older, confesses to a friend that she is embarrassed of her body and shuns intimacy with her frustrated husband Michael.

    Anna's mother Serena (well-played by Mildred Dunnock) does seem to have a handle on what is eating at Anna, but the rest of the family is without a clue. Stiff and reserved Serena does not really embrace her daughter's warm and affectionate nature or understand devotion to her family. Thus, there is some underlying resentment between the two and Serena does not know how to effectively reach Anna.

    Michael appears to simultaneously love and resent the new baby. In one strange scene, he kisses and cuddles her while telling her that they are rivals for Mom's attention. He pressures his wife to stop breastfeeding, even though it is something she clearly feels strongly about doing. Throughout much of the film, it looks like he is mostly thinking about how he is not getting enough attention, instead of, "What is wrong with my wife and how can I help her?" Warren Oates does well with the part, but Michael is not an entirely sympathetic character.

    The grown children are equally self-absorbed. The youngest, Jason, who is in his last year of secondary school, is in his own depression because of his low standardised test scores. One gets the sense that the normally watchful eye of his mother would have caught this, had she not been going through her own struggles. The middle son, Franklin, is the most sensitive to Anna's issues, but is too busy avoiding his elder sister Elizabeth to be of much help. Elizabeth is busy working at her great job, dealing with her needy husband and hounding Franklin about his lack of employment.

    Eventually, it is the seriousness of Jason's (and his best friend's) situation that brings Anna back to reality, so she can figure out how to balance the elements of her old life with the inevitable changes brought about by having a baby at that point in her life. Colleen Dewhurst gives the character more layers and depth than the cardboard cut-out that she could have been, given some of the trite dialogue.

    As a whole, though, it was interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, a made-for-TV film such as this one would never be made these days in the USA. Unless it is about sex and stars young and beautiful people, they do not think anyone will be interested.
  • comment
    • Author: Dawncrusher
    Anna Kramer, the "heroine" from And Baby Makes Six, a quirky housewife with a penchant for quoting literature, returns in Baby Comes Home and is again portrayed with depth by Colleen Dewhurst. Warren Oates also returns as Anna's classical music-loving husband, Michael, as does Mildred Dunnock as Anna's prickly mother. The rest of the major characters are portrayed by different actors in this film, an irritation in and of itself.

    In And Baby Makes Six, the primary focus was Anna fighting tooth and nail, over the objections of her family, to have her menopause baby. Now she is dealing with the upheaval of having the new baby at age 47 and wondering if she has taken on more than she can handle. Many sequels are not as good as the original and this tv-movie is no exception. And Baby Makes Six, which came out the year before, had its flaws, but is a couple of levels above Baby Comes Home. Baby Comes Home picks up on the way to the hospital to have the baby, which is a bit before where the first film ended.

    Now that she has the much-anticipated baby Sarah, the formerly self-assured Anna, though very happy at first, becomes increasingly concerned about her looks and aging. She is too embarassed to have sex with her husband and he does not help matters by giving her a membership to a health club. Before long, she cannot even bring herself to leave the house.

    Her husband, mother, best friend and three older children do what they can to try to snap her out of her funk, but have little effect. Besides, her family members are all dealing with their own issues. Jason, her 17 year old younger son, an aspiring filmmaker, is beside himself about his SAT scores. So is his best friend, a key player later on. Serena, Anna's mother, who has always been critical of Anna's choice to stay home instead of having a career, does not like getting older any better than her daughter.

    Michael is feeling neglected and he probably is. However, he tells an employee that Anna is obsessed with the baby and putting her ahead of him. We see no evidence of this, unless you count Anna interrupting a smooching session with him to go feed the crying baby. Really she is neglecting everyone but the baby, including herself, because of her depression. Eventually, a crisis arises and Anna has to decide to either snap out of her malaise or give in completely.

    Both this movie and its predecessor were intended as pilots for a series, though the original aired on NBC and this one was on CBS. Having different actors playing Anna and Michael's three older children and Anna's OBGyn is a bit of a distraction, but can be overlooked. The fact that Shelley List scripted both films lends itself to a welcome continuity.

    What Baby Comes Home lacks that And Baby Makes Six had in spades is humor. There are a few laughs, but a better sense of fun would have helped this movie. Where And Baby Makes Six tended at times to lapse into dialogue that Anna Kramer would call "maudlin and soppy," Baby Comes Home spends a lot of time wallowing in the corny and melodramatic, particularly in the delivery room scene, which we were blessedly spared in the first film, as well as in the "turning point" scene.

    One thing I prefer about this sequel in comparison with its predecessor is Warren Oates's much more sympathetic portrayal of Michael Kramer. His voice and behavior were gratingly harsh in And Baby Makes Six. Fortunately, he has toned it down here and you can identify with how he is feeling. The actors portraying Elizabeth, Franklin and Jason, the older kids, are pretty flat compared to the ones from the first movie. I particularly missed Timothy Hutton, much more compelling as Jason than Christopher Marcantel.

    Mildred Dunnock is good fun as Anna's mom, who does not seem to know how to show her daughter she cares. One cannot say enough nice things about Colleen Dewhurst, who is always delightful. She is clearly raising the level of the entire production with her abilities. A large and imposing figure even in her bare feet and towering close to 6' in heels, it is hard to imagine she could feel insecure.

    These are good, interesting characters, but they needed some better things to say and do. I basically enjoyed this film, but I had a sugar high when it was over.
  • comment
    • Author: Mogelv
    Since the cable and premium channels have started producing so many original movies, higher quality ones that the major networks would never take the risk on, the Big Three don't have as many made-for-TV movies as they used to in the past. You only have to look at the miniseries/TV-movie categories at awards shows to see that most of the TV-movies are either on PBS or cable.

    Baby Comes Home, and its predecessor And Baby Makes Six, hearken back to the good old days when the major networks regularly showed original movies with mass appeal. Sometimes they tackled an issue, sometimes they featured a topnotch cast like you would rarely see on TV, sometimes they were just fluff. I would say this one is some of all three.

    First off, this is a good cast. You have to love Colleen Dewhurst in this role and she was just such a gifted actress. Mildred Dunnock is also good as her mother, as is Warren Oates as her husband. The performances are all way above the average in a TV-movie from this era. The 3 actors playing their older daughter and sons are all fine, although I preferred the ones (particularly Timothy Hutton) from the original.

    It covers some issues that TV people would usually steer away from, particularly in combination. Colleen Dewhurst's character, Anna Kramer, is almost 48 and has just had a baby. To her surprise, it has thrown her life into a tailspin. She clearly has some form of postpartum depression. It manifests itself as a sort of terror about getting older, as well as a paralyzing fear of leaving the house.

    She is embarrassed about her body and doesn't want her husband to touch her. Nowadays, TV seems to be afraid to acknowledge that married, middle-aged people can actually still be attracted to each other and have sexual desires. But Anna brings up the valid point that women her age often feel invisible because of the youth-oriented nature of our culture (which is even worse today).

    There's a lot to like here. However, it is predictable, trite at times and too warm and fuzzy. We get a nauseating scene early on where there is a closeup of each family member's face as Anna breastfeeds the baby during the weekly "music night." The facial expressions vary from disapproving to sappy.

    The baby was born at the end of And Baby Makes Six. I guess since this sequel was shown on a different network, they wanted this one to be able to stand alone. Therefore, a stupid birth scene was included at the beginning. That was happily skipped in the first movie. Birth scenes never add much to films, from my perspective. The one here was a lowlight. Did they really need to make Colleen crack jokes in a breathy voice while her character is supposed to be pushing a baby out?

    The family dynamics do ultimately prove satisfying to watch, as they deal with Anna's issues and the changes the new baby has created in their lives. The kids all have problems of their own and with each other, as well. The characters are likable and relatable. I wish the script was better written and didn't go so corny at times.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Colleen Dewhurst Colleen Dewhurst - Anna Kramer
    Warren Oates Warren Oates - Michael Kramer
    Devon Ericson Devon Ericson - Elizabeth Kramer Winston
    Fredric Lehne Fredric Lehne - Franklin Kramer (as Fred Lehne)
    Christopher Marcantel Christopher Marcantel - Jason Kramer
    Mildred Dunnock Mildred Dunnock - Serena Fox
    Paul McCrane Paul McCrane - Bobby Moore
    David Huffman David Huffman - Jeff Winston
    Dena Dietrich Dena Dietrich - Dora
    James Noble James Noble - Dr. Elliott Losen
    Lee Wallace Lee Wallace - Sam Blumenkrantz
    Floyd Levine Floyd Levine - Louis Zambello
    Toni Gellman Toni Gellman - Loretta Zambello
    Maria Melendez Maria Melendez - Marta Montez
    Mel Stewart Mel Stewart - Mr. Adams
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