Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mouth to Mouth|
Actors: Ellen Page, Natasha Wightman, August Diehl, Beatrice Brown, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Strand Releasing Release Date: 09/25/2007
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Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 09/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Mouth to Mouth"
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Strand Releasing has just made available a wonderful coming of age story on DVD, "Mouth to Mouth" which takes a look at the radical youth culture of today. It is the story of Sherry, a young runaway and her adventures with a street collective, SPARK or "Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge". Sherry finds herself living on the streets of Europe and when she meets members of the group. They introduce her to a new life which is filled with substance. She gets on the SPARK van and travels through Europe and tries to recruit members from disenfranchised kids at raves and in town squares or from street gangs and they finally come to rest in a vineyard in Portugal which they choose as their perfect place.
The group leader, Harry, decides to harvest grapes as well as minds and using hard work and punishment manages to instill some radical ideas into the minds of the members of the collective. These are kids who are looking for a place to belong and Sherry is especially looking for somewhere in which she can be herself. She thinks that SPARK fulfills her needs but when her mother travels to find her, Sherry realizes that she must pay quite heavily for the price of her rebellion. As Sherry rebels, she loses many of her illusions as well as her virginity and the movie studies the very fragile line that separates acceptance and manipulation.
The movie is based upon some of the very experiences that director Alison Murray went through and she remembers organizations that she encountered. She claims that most want the person to conform to the dominant society and feels there is another way to live life. She uses SPARK as a way to help those who are lost to pull their lives together without conforming to the will of others.
The characters are etched out beautifully and the dialog is clever, sardonic and witty. The tenacity of the members of the group is shown with humor and irreverence. There is a love story between Sherry and another member of the group. Mad Ax, who is taken in by the rhetoric of SPARK and he finds Sherry's innocence and feistiness to be charming and he falls quickly in love with her but she rejects him while inspiring him to break lose of his apathy. Sherry eventually leaves the group so that she can find acceptance but she soon realizes that she will face the world by herself but still keeping both her individuality and freedom. Others joined SPARK and were easily prepared to give whatever power they had away in order to find security and a sense of righteousness that comes from being a member of a group.
The movie is nor so much acted as it is choreographed and this is used very effectively by presenting truth poetically. The use of music moves the plot along and the young cast turns in memorable performances.
What a mess!
Steve Benner | Lancaster, UK | 05/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film from writer/director Alison Murray is a depressing and altogether predictable morality tale chronicling the attractions and dangers of cult communes for modern youth (together with a warning for parents against seeking to become too involved in the lives of teenage offspring!). Sadly, however, the film's treatment of an underlying serious topic is every bit as shallow as it is unpleasant. While this production contains some stunning cinematography in places, this is frequently undermined by an over reliance on post-production digital colour treatments that render the image harsh and grainy (I think they were aiming for 'stark and gritty') in a generally unreal and inconsistent manner. And although it does feature a few genuinely moving scenes, it also contains some that are just downright silly, with acting that is mostly wooden and unconvincing (Ellen Page providing a notable exception). Add to this to a screenplay that is quite frankly a mess and in serious need of good, hard editing, plus a storyline that seems to just have no idea what it wants to do with its life, and the result is a production that is about as much in need of rehabilitation as some of the characters it portrays.
There are times when the only redeeming feature of this film is its soundtrack which, ironically, often has more to say than the screenplay; it is largely this, plus Ellen Page's conviction, that made me stay with it to the end and which adds the third star to this review. I did get one laugh out of this film, though: the commune leader's tag line throughout is "Intellectual self-defense, without the bull----". Oh yeah, right!
This DVD edition contains almost nothing by way of bonus materials, just theatrical trailer, plus short (and pointless, uninformative) "Behind the Scenes" featurette. This strikes me as an opportunity lost, because if ever there was a film that cried out for some additional commentary from its creator, this must surely be it. Oh, well.