The wrong guy has the right stuff

Eliza Scanlen and Toby Wallace in Babyteeth (IMDB)

Babyteeth is an Australian drama-comedy that tells the story of a terminally-ill young girl who falls in love with a small-time drug dealer. Source: ACOFB.

It is the debut full-length movie feature for female Director Shannon Murphy and is based on a screenplay written by Rita Kalnejais, which is in turn based on Kalnejais’ 2012 stage play of the same name.

Toby Wallace was awarded the Best Young Actor at the 76th.Venice International Film Festival in 2019 for his interpretation of the role of Moses, the drug dealer, who wins the heart of the young girls. The film won the SIGNIS* Award at the same festival.

Milla (Eliza Scanlen), 16, is terminally ill with cancer. While waiting for the arrival of a train on Platform 4, she contemplates suicide, when Moses (Toby Wallace), suddenly slams his body into her. Shocked, she has a nose bleed, and he bends down to assist. She is intrigued and overwhelmed by his actions.

After a day with him, Milla brings Moses home to dinner with her well-to-do parents, Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis), who have deep personal problems. Their antipathy to Moses, a 23-year-old drug dealer, turns Milla initially against them.

The film is an honest portrayal of first love, and of a flawed parental response to a difficult and challenging child, who desperately needs love.

This is a commanding movie in acting, direction, scripting, and photography. There is a Jane Campion look to it that is full of the unexpected. The film richly deserves the international awards it has received.

Review by Peter Sheehan, ACOFB

*SIGNIS is a Catholic lay movement for communication media professional that gives Ecumenical and Interfaith Awards in more than 30 film festivals.

Babyteeth: Starring Eliza Scanlen, Michelle Lotters, Toby Wallace, Ben Mendelsohn, and Esse Davis. Directed by Shannon Murphy. Rated M (Mature themes, sex scenes and coarse language). 118 min.

FULL REVIEW

Babyteeth (ACOFB)

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