Even the smallest moments matter

Comedy Drama Music
118 min     6.9     2020     Australia


Sixteen-year-old Milla (Eliza Scanlen) has cancer, and her parents (Ben Mendelsohn and Essie Davis) are trying to brighten up the last days/months/years of their daughter's life with unlimited care. But, like any teenager, Milla is annoyed by the excessive care of her parents. She has always been calm, but now she wants to protest. She accidentally meets a petty hooligan and drug dealer Moses (Toby Wallace). A passion flares up between the two young people. Of course, Milla’s parents are not happy with this, but they cannot say a word to their dying girl.

Because of powerlessness, Anna and Henry allow Moses to enter their daughter's life, and the strange young man surprisingly brings moments of joy to her life. His hero also gets his development: disconnected from his family, Moses is initially afraid of affection and has difficulty expressing his feelings. However, he begins to change life for the better for everyone.

At first glance, Babyteeth seems like a typical indie drama about growing up. We see how Milla fences herself off from her parents, runs away from home at night, and drinks vodka at dubious parties with a new friend. However, closer to the middle of the movie, Babyteeth clarifies that the girl is not only going through the hardships of adolescence but is also struggling with cancer.

The number of dialogues in the movie is minimized. The viewer is assumed to understand the feelings of the characters without further ado. The inner world of the characters gradually unfolds in the small, intimate space of the film. The movable camera flinches, spins and zooms in on faces, neon landscapes of the night city, highlighting the young couple's confusion and Milla's parents.

Babyteeth is a surprisingly versatile film. The movie does not try to tell that life needs to be devoted to something specific. There is a reason for the fact that Milla brings Moses to her home and does not run away. Everything makes sense – a warm family dinner and a sensual night. And the final flashback is the trip to the beach, which is shown in the very last episode, forming a beautiful metaphor for the soul's immortality.


SWITCH. wrote:
Stories of adolescence are some of the hardest to tell on screen in new and interesting ways, and the added complexities of terminal illness and a morally questionable teen romance that 'Babyteeth' adds to this makes the film feel like a miracle in how well it pulls almost every element off. Its cast and crew are at the top of their game, resulting in a film that's just as heartbreaking as any other teen cancer film, but elevated through a humour and cynicism, as well as incredible performances, assuring it won't be forgotten any time soon. - Ashley Teresa Read Ashley's full article...