Babyteeth: LFF Film Review

I had Australian drama Babyteeth on my list for the Venice Film Festival but I left before it was screened so naturally, I wanted to right that wrong at the London Film Festival.

Eliza Scanlen portrays Milla, a 16-year-old schoolgirl and violinist who is battling cancer. One day she meets drug addict and dealer Moses (Toby Wallace) and falls in love, which poses a challenge for her parents Anna (Essie Davis) and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn).

I couldn’t quite fathom what Milla saw in Moses – who is covered in tattoos, always high, and has the oddest hair – but I guess she just wanted to experience love, rebellion and drama/excitement before she passed away. Her parents are put in a tough spot because they want to give her everything she wants in the time she has left but doesn’t want her hanging out with a drug dealer who likes to steal from their hefty pill supply.

I knew Scanlen was one to watch with her supporting role in TV miniseries Sharp Objects, alongside Amy Adams, and she delivers another impressive performance in her movie debut. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Mendelsohn was the most moving member of the cast and really got me at the end while Davis capably handled the showier role of the mum with her own mental health issues. Wallace won an award for this at Venice and it’s easy to see why.

The film is a bit too long but your patience is rewarded at the end. The last 10-15 minutes is some gripping, emotional stuff. I didn’t really care for the text which appeared onscreen to explain what was coming next like “Henry and Anna’s Tuesday appointment” but I began to enjoy them because they could be quite funny.

Babyteeth is a powerful and engrossing story which boasts four impressive lead performances.

Seen during the 2019 London Film Festival. No release date yet 

Rating: 3.5/5

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