Director: Shannon Murphy
Runtime: 118 mins
Cast: Eliza Scanlen, Toby Wallace, Emily Barclay, Eugene Gilfedder, Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn
Synopsis: When seriously ill teenager Milla falls madly in love with small time drug dealer Moses, it is her parents’ worst nightmare. But as Milla’s first brush with love brings her a new lust for life, things get messy and traditional morals go out the window. Milla soon shows everyone in her orbit how to live like you have nothing to lose. What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family instead leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life. ‘Babyteeth’ joyously explores how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love.
Babyteeth is an Australian coming-of-age comedy-drama and debut feature film of Shannon Murphy, a highly talented theatre, film and television director, from a screenplay by Rita Kalnejais, based on her stage play of the same name.
Eliza Scanlen [Little Women (2019), Sharp Objects (2018)] as Milla and the magnetic Ben Mendelsohn as her father, Henry, head up an outstanding ensemble cast in this stark and honest comedy about the dysfunction in a contemporary Australian family and a young girl facing her mortality.
Director Shannon Murphy has said: “My ambition with Babyteeth was to find a cinematic language to match the peculiar tone of irreverence and sentiment in Rita Kalnejais’ whip smart script. I was inspired by the challenge of harmonising this duality of humour and pain in every frame of the film. There could be nothing tentative in my approach in order to authentically represent our protagonist Milla, who at 15 is at the precipice of feeling more alive than she’s ever felt, yet abruptly facing her own mortality.”
Murphy’s film language involves stylised disruptions through text, music and breaking the fourth wall which allow us to shift and move at Milla’s accelerated pace. She falls in love with Moses, [Toby Wallace – Romper Stomper (TV 2018), Neighbours (TV 2012)] whom she sees as an opportunity to push boundaries in an extreme way. As we dig deeper into the lives of Milla’s parents, Henry and Anna (Essie Davis), we uncover the dysfunction and complicated tensions that exist as this family face their worst nightmare. They are stripped back to their rawest forms in a visceral experience.
Powerfully acted and sensitively directed, Babyteeth offers audiences a coming-of-age story that’s messier – and more rewarding – than most.
In cinemas now
Images courtesy of Picturehouse