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Film / Mouth to Mouth

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We gather she isn't the perky kind.

A 2005 drama film written and directed by Alison Murray and starring Elliot Pagenote  as Sherry, a young runaway fleeing from a dysfunctional family. She is seduced by Tiger into joining a collective named S*P*A*R*K, standing for Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge. The leader Harry becomes gradually more authoritative and Sherry's mother Rose joins the group.

The film is a Road Trip Plot, shot in England, Germany, France and Portugal. The film had a very small opening, but Elliot Page's outbreak as an actor brought it back to the public eye. Some of points of interest include its harsh realism, presentation of a rarely represented portion of society, and depiction of a complex grey/gray relationship between a mother and daughter. Its overexposed contrasted landscapes are also a beautiful love letter to Europe. Also, Page shaves their head and finally plays Batgirl.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Blade. His first reaction upon seeing Harry is nothing short of awe, and he goes from a delicate feminine demeanor in the beginning of the movie to outright camp mannerisms in the second half. Not to mention the actor's only other acting credit until 2016 was in Queer as Folk (US).
  • Based on a True Story: Based on the experiences of Alison Murray when running away in Europe and joining a cult.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: After spending twenty four hours in the Pit, Blade has become one of Harry's most faithful and outspoken supporters.
  • Bifauxnen: With her buzzcut and baggy clothes, Sherry looks very much like a prepubescent boy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nancy dies in the Pit from her asthma attack, but this convinces Sherry, Axe and Dog to finally leave the cult.
  • Coming of Age Story: As said on the official website, "How Sherry loses her virginity, her illusions and her lip ring in one trippy road trip across Europe."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • Harry only shaves half of Sherry's head, as only half the members of the cult have accepted her.
    • Red (played by Jim Sturgess) is forced to eat six chillies for stealing wine.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Even though Mad Axe appears to play this trope straight, it's subverted when he reveals it's all just a masquerade with the following quote:
    "The more fucked up people think you are, the more likely they are to leave you alone."
  • Disappeared Dad: Sherry's dad isn't present, but this is never addressed other than with the implications of a teen pregnancy, given her mother's relative closeness in age.
  • Easily Forgiven: Nancy and Sherry never hold grudges against each other for very long.
    • The next scene where they interact after their first fight has them in casual friendly conversation.
    • Sherry never calls Nancy out after she votes to put Sherry in the pit out of pure jealousy because she had sex with Harry.
    • Despite Sherry being the only one who could have blown Nancy's cover, Nancy's anger ends when Sherry steps up for Axe. She just smiles proudly.
  • Emo Teen: Sherry mopes a lot, especially where her mother is concerned. Concerning style, however, she switches from Goth to crust Punk, blending in with the rest of the group.
  • Fake Defector: Harry charges several people to break rules and speak negatively of the group, so he can test whether the others will denounce them or not. Sherry suspects Nancy is one of them. She isn't. It's also possible that the "tests" were just a ruse so he could ensure that anyone who spoke out would get reported.
  • Foreshadowing: Nancy losing her inhaler, twice. Also, this quote:
    Dog: "I know I can't stop you guys, but I don't have to watch you."
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Harry notes Rose's utter inefficiency when it comes to discipline.
  • The Hedonist: Nancy thinks Harry is doing the right thing. She just doesn't think the right thing to do is fun.
  • Irony:
    Axe: Some guys will do that, you know. They act like they can take care of you, but when it comes down to it they wind up saving their own asses.
  • Manchild:
    • Most of the characters are this to an extent. Since this is a Coming of Age Story, they suffer a lot for their naïveté.
    • Mad Axe follows his whims and spends his time playing with Manson, a child. Like Sherry, he loses his element of innocence — in his case, when Manson dies. After that, he becomes a far more quiet Only Sane Man.
    • Nancy is a fun-loving thrill-seeker, who left a comfortable home out of mere boredom. One shot in the van focuses on her sucking her thumb.
    • Blade is seen cuddling a manikin in the van, very much like a child would cuddle a teddy bear. He has a very vulnerable demeanor in the first half of the movie.
  • Mood Whiplash: One minute, Harry is screaming at Sherry for having given away their location, the next, he smiles and kisses her on the forehead.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Sherry is not only one of the newest members of SPARK, but she also does not have the same harsh background most of the others do.
  • Scenery Porn: The landscapes are filmed as to always appear as though the sun is scorching or setting, which gives it a desertic look adapted to the themes of abandon and wanderlust in the film.
  • Straw Hypocrite:
    • Harry condemns a conformist society while demanding complete obedience and unity from the cult members. Also, he has sex with the women of the cult while the rules he created himself forbid having sex at all. He then punishes them for breaking the rules and "making him break the rule" while he gets off scot-free.
    • Sherry herself qualifies, as she considers herself an outsider and seeks a path of her own, yet conforms in order to be accepted into SPARK, although Alison Murray did describe the main appeal of SPARK as being an opportunity for peace and companionship without having to become part of a rotten society.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Manson. Axe playfully flips him by the legs into a dumpster, but some sort of debris slices through a major artery in Manson's neck on impact. He dies in just about a minute.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Harry thinks Rose must have had Sherry while very young. Rose neither confirms nor denies it, which in film making speak is just as good as confirmation.
  • Totally Radical: The SPARK rap. A rap about the benefits of hard work and sobriety sung entirely by white and light-skinned people. It's just as dorky as you'd think.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Seemingly averted, as most members of the group seem quite willing to have their hair shaved off, as it signifies full acceptance into SPARK; played straight when Sherry lets out a small sob, which she rapidly covers up with a smile.
  • Wham Episode: Manson's death is very shocking, no doubt helped by the idealistic tone in the first part of the movie.