Partly reflecting director Alison Murray’s own experience in London’s anarchist squats, Mouth to Mouth is a roadtrip psycho-drama about the dystopia of cults. In the film, Sherry, a disillusioned teen, runs off from northern Europe to a rave and a commune in southern Europe with S.P.A.R.K. (Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge). The group’s doses of methadone and self-help along with its rejection of mainstream paradigms attract young druggies, misfits and crazies. S.P.A.R.K.’s leader, Harry (always shirtless) molds the group by psychological sleights of hand to get members to accept his punishments and full control.
Beautifully shot with vivid colors, Mouth to Mouth nonetheless struggles with uneven transitions. It’s left unclear for much of the movie why the protagonist, middle-class Sherry, is so mad at life – our only clues are her goth-hippie clothing. But Sherry’s relationship to her mother is more fully explored towards the end, as the mother first tries to pry Sherry from Harry’s grip and then later joins SP.A.R.K. and bonds with her daughter. The end scene is of Sherry and a love interest in a trippy dance routine that
clashes with the intensity of prior scenes.
Apart from a few glitches in the script, the movie succeeds in capturing the lure of cults
and the seedier side of counter-culture. Mouth to Mouth is as much a cautionary tale against charismatic authoritarianism as an indictment of radical lifestyle politics.