A man takes care of a girl with ice for teeth in Earwig. Albert Scellinc (Paul Hilton) is the caretaker for 10-year-old Mia (Romane Hemelaers), who regularly has to be given dentures made out of ice. Albert regularly receives phone calls asking for updates on Mia and he is told that he has 13 takes to prepare the girl to leave. Elsewhere, a woman named Celeste (Romola Garai) is recovering from a horrible incident, with the help of a mysterious man named Laurence (Alex Lawther).
Earwig is the English-language debut from co-writer and director Lucile Hadzihalilovic (Evolution), based on the novel of the same name by Brian Catling. Taking place primarily in a sombre European apartment, Earwig is a film that relies greatly on visual storytelling, with the film not having a single line of dialogue for the first half-hour of the film. The exact nature of the plot of Earwig remains quite ambiguous, particularly in how the main plot of Albert Scellinc and his young ward Mia connects with the side story of the blonde woman Celeste, who is first spotted watching Albert and Mia from a bridge in the park.
The main hook of Earwig going in is that is a film involving a girl with ice for teeth. While that is indeed the case, there is a bit more to the plot of this film, which is actually at its best when it negates dialogue in favor of its visual storytelling, excellent sound design, and very haunting score. Earwig is also a film highly reminiscent of the films of Peter Strickland, right down to the fact that you might leave the film not quite sure what just happened.
Earwig is screening as part of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival
- TIFF 2015: Evolution
- TIFF18: In Fabric
- TIFF 2014: The Duke of Burgundy
- TIFF12: Berberian Sound Studio