A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The importance of family, even if the family unit would be deemed "dysfunctional." Love and friendship are strong themes. Courage in the face of adversity. Some examples of compassion and forgiveness. Some stealing, including of drugs in order to feed addiction.
Positive Role Models
Milla faces her illness with bravery, but also chooses to do what she wants, even if that upsets her parents or breaks the law. It is clear however that she loves her family and cares about what happens to them. She also shows compassion and generosity to Moses, whom she falls in love with. Moses struggles with drug addiction. His motives for getting close to Milla -- who is younger than him -- initially appear to be to use her for drugs. He also treats her badly and even puts her life in danger. However, as their relationship develops, he begins to fall for her too. Milla's parents, Anna and Henry, care deeply about Milla. Their relationship has moments of genuine affection, but they also argue about both Milla and Anna's own intake of prescription drugs, while Henry turns to another woman.
Violence & Scariness
Some pushing and shoving. Character tackles another to the floor. Character electrocutes themselves but is simply stunned rather than harmed. A character suffering with cancer, ends up in hospital with a chest infection after spending the night sleeping rough and having not taken their medication. A character is seen with cuts to the face, but it's unclear how they came about. After being asked to do so, a character holds a pillow over another's face in an attempt to suffocate them. When they begin to struggle the pillow is removed from their face. A character dies from a terminal illness -- they are seen dead lying in bed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple start to have sex on a desk but are interrupted by a phone ringing. Characters are seen shirtless and in just their bras. Some kissing, flirting, and hand holding. Two characters have sex, but it it non-graphic with minimal nudity. Character is seen in just a towel after getting out of a shower.
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Language includes variants of "f--k," "motherf----r," "d--khead," "pissed off," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and "p---y."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters take prescription drugs, both which they have been prescribed, but also that they have stolen or purchased illegally. They are seen behaving erratically as a result. A character is caught injecting morphine. One character smokes regularly. Another pregnant woman is seen smoking -- when challenged about it they claim new evidence shows it's safe to do so. Characters drink wine and beer at meals. Another is seen drinking a beer while sitting on a sidewalk. A character gets drunk on vodka at a party and ends up throwing up.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Babyteeth is a funny, yet also moving Australian drama about an unlikely friendship and romance with scenes of drug taking and strong language throughout. Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is a 15-year-old schoolgirl who is living with cancer. When she befriends Moses (Toby Wallace), a homeless man struggling with drug addiction, her parents are dismayed, but also see how happy Moses makes her. Moses steals drugs to feed his habit. He is often seen high and subsequently treats Milla badly. Milla's own parents, Anna (Essie Davis) and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn), also have their own issues with drugs. Anna takes prescription drugs, but tries to come off them. While Henry is caught secretly injecting morphine. Moses also regularly smokes and Milla is seen throwing up after drinking too much vodka at a party. There is strong language throughout, including variants of "f--k" and "s--t," alongside "d--khead," and "p---y." There are two sex scenes, but neither are gratuitous or contain any nudity beyond a shirtless male and the displaying of a bra. There is hardly any violence, but in one scene, at the request of Millie, Moses holds a pillow over her face in an attempt to suffocate her, but can't go through with it. While they could be considered "dysfunctional," Milla and her family are loving, while even the relationship between Mille and Moses has moments of tenderness and compassion. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Shannon Murphy's directorial debut will have you laughing out loud one minute, and the next wiping away a tear as it expertly manages to blend humor with drama. There are no villains in this movie. Nor are there heroes. What Babyteeth does boast is a collection of characters who are all fighting their own battles, even if some are more obvious than others. At the heart of the movie is Milla -- superbly played by Scanlan -- who despite her cancer, maintains the common characteristics that are so prevalent amongst teens. She's at times disobedient, others compassionate, and she's not against breaking the rules. She also does her best not to be defined by her illness, which causes friction with her pill-popping and anxious mother, Anna.
Indeed the idea of putting a label on people is a central theme in the movie. In one scene, after Milla's father, Henry, calls Moses a "drug addict," Milla responds with "Don't pigeonhole him." Just as there's more to Milla than her cancer, as the movie develops, so does Moses. Likewise Milla's parents -- who despite the nice house and money to send Milla to private school -- have their own flaws and demons to overcome. This is a film as layered as the characters that inhabit it and subsequently feels realistic, truthful, and strangely reassuring.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.