Mouth to Mouth Alison Murray

I’m not exactly sure what to do with a movie like Mouth to Mouth, though its own mystification at the cruelty of disaffection is perhaps explanation enough. Its heroine, Sherry (Canadian up-and-comer Ellen Page), is an angry teenager whose prayers appear to have been answered; she’s hooked up with a street youth organisation called SPARK (Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge), whose collectivist utopia appeals to her aimless fury. Unfortunately, the organisation turns out to be a cultish nightmare with mercenary ends — a boy who dies early on is simply abandoned, while the rest wind up with their heads shaved and put to hard work while the women are taken advantage of. Sherry vacillates, especially when her mother decides to join, but a smash-up is inevitable. The film is sort of an elegy to the crushed spirit of someone living on the streets, someone who would like to have some sort of bedrock but can only expect exploitation or loneliness. It doesn’t have an agenda beyond that and doesn’t offer any solution beyond busting out and hitting the road. But this may be exactly the point: so many people find themselves on the outs with no way back in that an 11th-hour life affirmation would only trivialise their very real helplessness. Mouth to Mouth is a chastening portrait of that helplessness, and if you don’t know exactly where to put the heavy weight it plops on your shoulders rest assured there are people beyond the screen whose burdens are so much heavier. It’s a compelling film that is not exactly a rousing call to arms but doesn’t insult you with false resolutions. (Mongrel Media)