Mouth to Mouth (2004)

         MOUTH TO MOUTH, not to be confuse with the 1995 Spanish-language movie
BOCA A BOCA, is a semi-autobiographical tale about a young girl who falls in with a cult.
 Writer-director Alison Murray netted two awards at the 2005 Brooklyn Film Festival, including
 the top jury prize the Grand Chameleon. Clearly the jury saw a different movie than I did.

         The film follows Sherry (Ellen Page) who has a turbulent relationship with her mother Rose
 (Natasha Wigthman). While travelling together in Europe, Sherry encounters a street
 troupe-cum-cult that goes by the acronym SPARK (Street People Armed with Radical
 Knowledge). She ditches her mom and throws in her lot with the group -- partly because she
 finds the guys (who seem to find wearing shirts a problem) attractive. The group's leader is
 the charismatic Harry (Eric Thal) who claims success in getting the motley group of followers
 off of drugs and providing a place for them to live. Of course, what he fails to mention is that
 the group relies on questionable practices for survival such as dumpster diving for food and clothing.

         Sherry joined the crew partly to get closer to Tiger (August Diehl), but later finds herself the
 object of Harry's interest. When her mother finally catches up with them, Sherry is appalled when
 Natasha decides to join the cult as well.

         Murray handles the material with too much portentousness. I recognize that the film has been
 inspired by events in her life, but she does not seem to be able to distance herself enough.
 What she finds interesting, an audience might not. Because she has a dance background,  Murray
 has included several sequences where the group members break out in terpsichorean reverie
 -- nearly all of which are either inappropriate or stop the film's limited forward action dead
 in its track.

         Despite its awards,
MOUTH TO MOUTH is a mess of a film that strands its actors.
 While it does have a few moments of interest and drama, they don't coalesce into a coherent
 or even interesting film.

                           Rating:                        C -
                           MPAA Rating:            None
                           Running time:               97 min.
©  2005, 2006  by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.