From director/writer Yngvild Sve Filkke, Ninjababy is a Norwegian dramedy delves deep through the ins and outs of an unexpected pregnancy both through a realistic and surrealistic lens. Grounded performances and abstract 2D animation blend well together leaving a quietly accomplished 100 minutes of film.
Written by Alex Gilston
At the heart of Ninjababy is Rakel (Kristine Kujath Thorp). When she starts to notice odd things like her body changing, having a heightened sense of smell, and craving things she didn’t before, her friend insists she take a pregnancy test. When this comes back as positive she finds out she's actually entering her third trimester. This causes Rakel to spiral, sparking a Mamma Mia style Who’s the father? rampage, as she can’t quite recall how she could have even become pregnant in the first place. Thorp’s performance throughout treads the perfect line between calm and anxious, putting you in the perfect position to understand what she's going through.
The supporting cast compliment Thorp massively, with each role feeling fully realised and not out of place. Tora Christine Dietrichson, and Nader Khademi play their roles brilliantly, but the most surprising performance comes from Arthur Berning as Pikkjesus. An interaction between him and Rakel offers up the funniest moment of the film, but it's his development throughout and the deft way in which Berning plays it off that really seals the deal with his role.
The abstract aspect of Ninjababy is picked up through Rakel’s tendency to doodle. We are introduced to Ninjababy, a 2D animated baby with a ninja mask that traverses the physical world through paper and other means, who acts as Rakel’s conscience as she tries to deal with the repercussions of being pregnant and not wanting to be a parent. The animation is key to help tell the story over its runtime and where it is scattered it works perfectly. Although Ninjababy, through the help of voice actor Herman Tømmeraas, is slightly annoying, towards the end you can’t help but feel attached to the come to life drawing. Ninjababy doesn’t wrap up quite as neatly as some might want it to, but given the subject matter neatly wrapped up would have felt unconvincing.
What you’re left with is a well handled authentic look into unwanted pregnancy, relationships, and parenthood. The comedy in this film allows it some breathing space when it comes to the more serious moments, often meaning that they land better too. Overall Ninjababy is a triumph and a film well worth seeking out.