Milla, a seriously ill teenager falls in love with a drug dealer, Moses, her parents worst nightmare.
Every so often a film comes around and I find myself completely out of sync with general critical opinion, and that is exactly what’s happened with ‘Babyteeth’, the critically acclaimed feature debut from Shannon Murphy. ‘Babyteeth’ is an Australian dramedy about a teenage girl Milla (Eliza Scanlen, seen recently in ‘Little Women’) who has terminal cancer. She lives with her free spirited parents who are determined to make what remains of her life as happy as possible, even if that involves accommodating a smalltime drug dealer, Moses (Toby Wallace), who finds his way into her life.
I really disliked this film, largely because I found every character in it to be somewhere on a scale from mildly annoying to completely insufferable. It’s a film that clearly wants to be quirky, with cutesy title cards signposting different parts of the film, and I felt in its attempts to not become too depressing given the subject matter, it veers off track. I didn’t buy the connection between Milla and Moses, nor that her parents would just accept him into their home, regardless of how liberal and alternative they like to portray themselves as. On the positive side the film does have some good performances and Eliza Scanlen is impressive and endearing in the central role, whilst Ben Mendelsohn and Essie Davis as her parents are always very watchable. I couldn’t work out if it was Toby Wallace’s performance or his character that I didn’t like, but for whatever reason, I was never on board with his display.
As I mentioned, ‘Babyteeth’ has gathered outstanding reviews elsewhere and perhaps I’ve been spoilt by some excellent coming of age films of late (‘Perfect 10’, ‘Make Up’) or was still blindsided by ‘Tenet’ the previous day, however I am struggling to see what the fuss was about this film and I found it to be a frustrating and frankly irritating watch.
Directed By: Shannon Murphy
Starring: Eliza Scanlen, Toby Wallace, Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis and Emily Barclay