Under the title MILLA MEETS MOSES Shannon Murphy’s festival hit “Babyteeth” hits USA cinemas, in which a terminally ill girl runs away with her new boyfriend, even though he may just want to get her medication. We reveal more about the film in our review.
OT: Babyteeth (AUS 2019)
The plot summary
Milla (Eliza Scanlen) meets Moses (Toby Wallace) – in fact, she is literally blown away by him the first time they meet. Although Moses turns out to be a drifter and an occasional dealer, she takes him home to introduce him to her parents. Anna (Essie Davis) and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) – a former concert pianist and a fairly laid-back psychiatrist – are anything but enthusiastic about Milla’s new boyfriend. But Milla’s joy for life and her longing to discover love and the world turn the family upside down. When the parents notice that Moses is obviously good for their sick daughter, they take him in despite their concerns and are confronted with their own weaknesses.
Shannon Murphy’s “Milla Meets Moses” is originally called “Babyteeth”. The reason: The main character, Milla, has long since passed the age of having milk teeth, but still has some of the teeth that actually fall out at a young age in her mouth. Physically speaking, the young woman with the bright blue hair is not yet an adult – a striking symbol that Milla will become exactly that as her last baby tooth falls out over the course of the journey she takes in the film. But also the most striking, because apart from that, Shannon Murphy succeeds (“On the Ropes”) with her feature film debut, a anything but clumsy look at a story that actually remains within creative limits; This fall alone, a second film about a runaway fleeing her fate due to illness will be released, “God, you can be an ass.” But in the case of “Milla Meets Moses,” the makers don’t take the approach of a classic “enjoy your life while you still can!” feel-good movie, but instead present a whimsical character study that sometimes runs the risk of absurdity Willingness to be absurd, but on the whole it is particularly captivating because all the characters act in an appropriately absurd manner in the face of approaching losses. “Milla meets Moses” is a deeply human film.
Milla (Eliza Scanlen) plays the violin.
When we meet Milla’s parents Anna and Henry for the first time, it takes a while before we even realize what their relationship is to each other. We get to know her in Henry’s psychotherapeutic practice. She makes advances to him to have sex with her, he would like to, but is reluctant; not least because the phone could ring at any moment and ruin the mood. The way the two prance uncertainly around each other, make ambiguous hints, only glance briefly into each other’s eyes and otherwise appear rather awkward with each other never gives you the idea that they are actually them Man and woman should act. Everything seems awkward – not just between the two of them, but also in their interactions with their own daughter. Since this is noticeable through their sometimes bizarre habits and mannerisms, you could easily call the two of them quirky. But that would be Essie Davis’ (“The Babadook”) and Ben Mendelsohn’s (“Una and Ray”) do not do justice to the enormous emotional intensity that the two put into the performances of their desperate parental roles. The two are not just bizarre characters with a few amusing peculiarities in their interpersonal relationships, but are fundamentally helpless and therefore always looking for distraction and emotional balance.
“Milla’s parents are not just bizarre characters with a few amusing peculiarities in their interpersonal relationships, but are fundamentally helpless and therefore always looking for distraction and emotional balance.”
Eliza Scanlen (“Little Women”) embodies her Milla as the complete opposite of her parents. If they take one step towards Milla, Milla instinctively takes three steps back; the other way around too. At first glance, this is typically pubertal defiance and provocation behavior, but it is quickly revealed to be the only halfway adequate way of communication. Although parents and daughter share similar fears, intimate conversations are not possible for various reasons (shame, insecurity, fear…); Instead, Milla forces interaction on her parents in other ways, such as when she brings Moses to dinner together. The unkempt occasional dealer is by no means the epitome of a mother-in-law’s favorite, and the ensuing culture clash is calculated accordingly. But Milla manages to lure her parents out of their comfort zone – and it’s immediately understandable why the girl falls for the drifter. In contrast to Milla’s parents, he has no shyness at all when dealing with the terminally ill patient; on the contrary. He doesn’t even take her medication supplies into account. The connection between the two has something real, something sincere and intimate right from the start, without Shannon Murphy having to resort to extensive vows of love or other cheesy love story scenes. “Milla meets Moses” is carried through and through by the lifelike interaction of the two main characters, whose chemistry with each other is outstanding.
Anna (Essie Davis), Moses (Toby Wallace), Milla and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn)
It also helps “Babyteeth” get through some moments that are less meaningful. Once Milla and Moses take refuge on their road trip, the film dramaturgically follows the usual (episodic) road movie patterns. Even though Murphy takes a pleasantly uncompromising approach to judgment with her characters, each character gets exactly the life lesson they need in the last few meters – that doesn’t quite fit with the otherwise unvarnished way of dealing with the disease cancer, with the patients and with the effects on relatives. The look at the parents and their sometimes paradoxical way of dealing with Milla’s illness is much more successful. Ben Mendelsohn in particular triumphs as a hopefully overwhelmed father who turns a good face into a bad game for his child, who is always best when he tries to enjoy small observations and events in everyday life – to free himself from his situation for a brief moment to distract. Meanwhile, Essie Davis is given more time to actively grieve as her deep need for support and support increasingly erupts into overprotection, thus counteracting intimate contact with her daughter.
“Although Murphy takes a pleasantly uncompromising approach to judgment with her characters, each character gets exactly the life lesson they need in the final few meters – that doesn’t quite fit with the otherwise straightforward way of dealing with the disease of cancer.”
Conclusion: Under the title “Milla meets Moses”, the acclaimed road movie drama “Babyteeth” begins its triumphal march in United Kingdom and presents a rough-and-tumble (almost) love story about an unequal duo who maneuver their way through various strokes of fate with a lot of feeling and cleverness is accompanied by various strange characters.
“Babyteeth” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 8th.