Baby God is a heart wrenching documentary. The latest HBO true crime documentary is about Dr. Quincy Fortier. Fortier was an OB/GYN who used his semen to impregnate dozens of women in Las Vegas from the 1940s through the 1980s. The terrifying film already knows what has happened. The question it tries to answer is why.
The catalyst for the documentary is Wendi Babst. She is a retired police detective who accidentally discovers at least fourteen half siblings through Ancestry.com. Once she realizes something seems odd, she decides to unravel the mystery. The interviews with the children Fortier fathered are riveting. They naturally are confused and have questions about themselves. One worries about inheriting Fortier’s worst traits. Another wrestle with whether they should tell their elderly mothers. These are the most striking moments of Baby God. The sense of not knowing leads to a resigned acceptance.
Baby God director Hannah Olson also speaks with the children Fortier raised. These conversations shed some insight into Fortier. His son states that Fortier told his family what he was doing. Fortier reasoned he was “just helping out”. He is also certain he has “hundreds” of siblings. One of Fortier’s adopted daughters is sure her father did not think he was doing any harm. These comments combined with interviews from Fortier himself paint a picture of a deluded man.
These moments are particularly scary. It has already been made clear that Fortier was a predator. It is still shocking to learn how callous he was regarding his actions. This extends to members of his family. This is seen most obviously in a scene when a family member talks about how Fortier “loved people” and was “vilified” by the press. Another essentially states he was just doing his job. In these moments, Baby God shows how strong family ties can be even in the most twisted scenarios.
Olson’s documentary is a short one. This is a wise decision as it does not allow room to overdramatize the already appalling events. The film patiently and emotionally lays out its sordid tale. Still, some will be surprised by a revelation introduced late in Baby God. It seems to be an interesting path for Babst’s investigation to take. Surprisingly, nothing comes of it. Even worse, it trivializes the disgusting acts.
Baby God is a strange and dark look at a predatory fertility doctor. There are some powerful moments that are filled with emotion. Director Hannah Olson lets her film unravel at its own pace for the most part. A shocking revelation towards the end adds little, but the story itself is an interesting watch that will mortify audiences.
Baby God premieres on HBO December 2.
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