Somehow, I’d missed this film for ages and was pointed back to it when its Australian director Shannon Murphy received a surprise BAFTA nomination.
As soon as you see this Sydney-set twist on the coming of (teen)age drama you can see why she got it – it’s a very fresh, original take on the ‘teen romance’ and ‘terminal illness’ movie, with Eliza Scanlan as Milla, who is suffering from cancer, and who falls madly in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, a much older junkie called Moses played by Toby Wallace, with edgy, scuzzy charm. It’s all to the wariness of her well-to-do, slightly bohemian and drug-addled parents, played by Ben Mendelsohn and Essie Davis.
With some beautiful moments, a cool house, nice music, excellent performances and no little humour, this is a great-looking movie, stylishly put together with some visual quirks. Sometimes it plays as a collection of very good scenes without entirely convincing as a whole, but Babyteeth is told with a gentle, authentic heart and real feel for its characters.