• James Rutherford

'Babyteeth': A Stirring Illustration of Young Love and Familial Discord from Australia


Movie poster for the 2019 Australian film Babyteeth

Babyteeth (2019) is a stirring and uncommon Australian comedy-drama starring Eliza Scanlen as Milla Finlay, a 16-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Deeply concerned for her well-being, Milla's parents Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis) chafe when she begins dating 23-year-old Moses (Toby Wallace), a seemingly homeless miscreant.


First encountering Moses on a train platform begging for money, Milla is unexpectedly smitten with the disheveled young man and takes him under her wing—bringing him to her parent's house in suburban Sydney. Henry and Anna are uncomfortable with Moses' presence but acquiesce in the hopes of lifting Milla's spirits during her period of convalescence. What ensues is an often surprising tale of four characters' unexpected convergence—each bringing their own unique sensibilities to the storyline.


Adapted by Australian playwright Rita Kalnejais from her 2012 play and directed by theatre/television veteran Shannon Murphy, Babyteeth is a singular creation brimming with unexpected turns and galvanizing emotion. An ostensibly familiar storyline dodges nearly every possible cliche, amounting to a wonderfully fresh spin on the young love/first love narrative. Edgy, humane and utterly heartrending, it's one film destined to leave an indelible impression on your heart.

 

Watch the trailer: