With a premise that could have either been maudlin or saccharine (teenager with cancer falls for a bad boy) BABYTEETH instead ends up being bittersweet, often joyous and lyrical. This is musical filmmaking without actually being a musical with its great soundtrack and floaty joy conveyed whenever Milla (a dazzling Eliza Scanlen) dances. All the characters are flawed but loveable (Essie Davis and Ben Mendelssohn as Milla’s parents devoted to her but falling out of love with each other stand out) – all dealing with their own crap and dreaming of things getting just a little bit better. You gear yourself up for tears throughout but the cathartic ugly crying only comes in the film’s post-script that puts everything else into a new and heartbreaking perspective. As feature debuts go, this is an absolute cracker from Shannon Murphy. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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