Review | Shannon Murphy’s ‘Babyteeth’ tells an unlikely love story

Babyteeth | Dir: Shannon Murphy | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Fifteen year-old Milla Finlay (Eliza Scanlen who was in last year’s Little Women after developing her skills in Home and Away) has cancer but she is trying not to let it disrupt her life. She catches the train to her private school and continues produce heavenly music at her violin lessons with a family friend.

While waiting for the train one day, Moses (Toby Wallace from Neighbours) bumps into her (that is physically bumps into her) and disrupts her peaceful life. The 23 year-old drug addict and dealer, sporting a rats-tail and covered with tattoos, is any parents’ worst nightmare.

The besotted Milla brings Moses home to psychiatrist Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and retired concert pianist Anna (Miss Fischer’s Essie Davis) who have a few problems of their own. Moses is high most of the time, but so is Milla’s mum who is supplied prescription drugs by her husband.

There are copious amounts of humour in the beginning of this somewhat irreverent film and some plot distractions with secondary characters but, as chemotherapy takes its toll, the possibility that Milla is running out of time overrides the comedic beginning.

Milla’s personality seems to change with the assortment of wigs that she wears and there are uncomfortable moments as Milla desperately tries to do things most teenagers do as everything is overshadowed by the reality of her situation.

Moses also keeps things real and we see his attempts to see his younger brother after his mother has banned him from her home. The scrawny Moses is far from perfect and doesn’t become a reformed person even though he cares for Milla.

Babyteeth is the debut feature film from Shannon Murphy, who is best known for directing some episodes of the third season of the cult television series Killing Eve. This unlikely love story develops as the various characters try to cope with the chaos of their lives and the bitter-sweet ending will have you in tears.

Babyteeth is out now at Luna Palace Cinemas.

Lezly Herbert

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