TL;DR – A film that is equal parts engaging and unsettling
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film
Old Review –
If there is one filmmaker who knows Hollywood’s very heights and depths, it’s M. Night Shyamalan. But no matter if his films work or not, they are always impeccable shot and are at least trying to be more than the sum of their parts. So when you hear that he is diving back into the horror world or at least the supernatural world, well, it makes you want to see at least what he has made.
So to set the scene, we open in on a family as they make their way by coach to the Anamika Resort on some tropical island. While the parents, Guy (Gael García Bernal) and Priscilla (Vicky Krieps), put on a good show for their kids Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and Trent (Nolan River). This was, in fact, the last holiday before the parents separate, so they are trying to make it a good memory. While at the resort, the manager suggests that they all go to a private beach that they are only opening for select guests, all you have to do is walk through a small canyon, and you are there. It is a beautiful day at the beach, right up until a body floats ashore.
When I walked in to see Babyteeth, I had no idea I was walking into. Sure, from the wigs I assumed it had something to do with cancer, it also had Ben Mendelsohn, so at the very least I was going to be entertained by that. However, nothing could prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that I would be taken on from start to finish.
So to set the scene, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is preparing for her last day at school for a while as soon she would be starting chemotherapy as her cancer had returned. While she is waiting to get on the train, someone crashes into her from behind. Moses (Toby Wallace) had just been kicked out of home due to his drug addiction. They run off to get her hair cut, and Milla brings him home to meet her parents Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis). It goes about as well as you expect it would.
I do feel that I have to preface my review with the note that moments in this film are painful to watch. So difficult that you want to turn away from the screen because the pain is too raw to bear. I say this because I feel people are going to come away with very different feelings about this film, and I wanted to give a little forewarning before we dived into the review proper.
It has been a long time since I have had a good cry in the cinemas, and I don’t mean a good one solitary tear gallantly making its way down the side of my face as the music soars around. No I mean some good old fashioned weeping, the kind that makes you wish you had brought a hankie or at least some tissues as you try to compose yourself after as you thank God that you were not wearing any mascara because there would be no coming back from that. Well, today we look at a film that is all that and more.
So to set the scene, we open in New York City back in 1868 where Josephine “Jo” March (Saoirse Ronan) works as a teacher in a boarding house as she tries to be published as a writer. The publisher Mr Dashwood (Tracy Letts) is interested in her work, but it needed to be more salacious and the female characters must end the book either married or dead. In France, Jo’s sister Amy (Florence Pugh) is enjoying some time painting and finding a husband under the guidance of her Aunt (Meryl Streep) when she spies Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (Timothée Chalamet) a childhood friend of her and her sisters Meg (Emma Watson) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen), as well as the former suiter of Jo, in the gardens of Paris. It is a moment of joy, but there and across the Atlantic, there is a cloud on the horizon because the past is not going to stay in the past.