IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF NINJABABY!
SXSW Film Festival has some gems hidden among the vast lineup and one of them is the fan favorite Norwegian comedy Ninjababy. We meet Rakel, a cartoonist and a girl living her life to the fullest, until she gets the news that she is 6 months pregnant, which demands her to change her entire lifestyle. While she searches for the child’s possible parent, her insecurities take hold of her and she starts to image this newborn child as a cartoon, Ninjababy. Directed by Yngvild Sve Flikke, Ninjababy is actually a hilarious film about the messiness of life and how motivations quickly shift what we want for our ourselves. It’s a coming-of-age tale that magically moves us in an unexpected way while never losing its boldness.
Creative and funny, Ninjababy is the most interesting feminist comedy of the year so far, dwelling with the many obstacles, insecurities and surprises that come from precocious and unexpected motherhood. Rakel, masterfully performed by Kristine Kujath Thorp, is a character that is layered with the typical young adult concerns and is relatable for any young mother that has been through this type of situation. By having a charismatic lead, Flikke is able to strip the character naked to the audience and never loses touch of her primordial goal: reflecting the many psychological issues of a young girl who has to grow up fast to become a responsible woman. It’s every girl’s nightmare to have this breaking news and not being ready to take a big step into becoming a full grown adult.
Adding to Rakel’s already messed up thoughts, we have a set of supporting characters that help her find her way or make it even more complicated for her to accept her new reality. Ultimately, Ninjababy manages to provide a freshness into a theme that will certainly be sensitive for some, and doesn’t have any problems in foul mouthing it. The creativity surrounding the insecurities of Rakel is also one of the best things about the film, projecting all these vulnerabilities into cartoons. Just like American Splendor, Ninjababy adds to its incredibly juicy premise a garnish of hand drawn elements that reflect Rakel’s state of mind and emotional outburts. Impulsivity, consciousness of having to face reality, Rakel can be every single young mother in the world right now dealing with unexpected motherhood. This closure makes Ninjababy a film not to miss.
Although the film stretches too long and loses itself on clichéd romance, Ninjababy never feels tiresome because it uses its charismatic lead and her mind as the driving force of a captivating humor that will definitely leave the audiences surrendered to its charms. The reality that Ninjababy fantasises is truly unique and joyful to watch and the irreverent jokes that compose the main character’s attitude towards life and surpassing her own personal challenges is absolutely effective. It may not be for everybody’s taste, but Ninjababy has a heart of its own and is definitely a comedy that will leave its mark throughout this year. Deep and yet irreverent, Ninjababy is one of the most funny and articulate films of the SXSW Film Festival and is one that will leave you wanting for more work from this talented group of women that brought this story to life.
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Original Title: Ninjababy
Director: Yngvild Sve Flikke
Runtime: 73 min.
Trailer | Ninjababy