Yngvild Sve Flikke’s gorgeous, feminist drama snuck up on me like a ninja, baby.
Rakel (Kristine Kujath Thorp) has big plans; to be an astronaut or a globetrotter or a forest ranger or a beer taster. Or maybe a comic book author. She can’t quite seem to tidy up her room or her life and drifts along with room mate Ingrid (Tora Christine Dietrichson) to an aikido class. She recognises the instructor Mos (Nader Khademi) as a man she hooked up with a few months back because he smelt like butter.
Rakel’s weird tummy troubles turn out to not be constipation but a pregnancy that she can’t seem to escape from. From a life that she felt in control of, she now has to contend with other people’s ideas and intentions for her and her ninjababy. And ninjababy has a voice – she talks to him and draws him, working through what he might think of abortion or adoption or a life with her.
It helps us understand the inner world of this prickly, goofy, kind-hearted woman. She is like so many ordinary young women, just on the verge of becoming herself and faced with something that others have strong ideas about. Small touches of animation are seamlessly used to enhance our understanding of what Rakel is experiencing. Where other films might take a more leaden or predictable route, Ninjababy manages to maintain an emotional energy that seems authentic and never reverts to stereotypes.
The ending is satisfying in so many ways. I didn’t expect it to have so much heart.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.