Review by Camden Ferrell
Hatching is a Finnish movie that is one part coming of age and one part body horror. It had its premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. It marks the narrative feature debuts of director Hanna Bergholm and writer Ilja Rautsi. The movie can feel undercooked in certain places, but this is a truly unique and enjoyable approach to universal topics and themes.
Tinja is a young girl and an aspiring gymnast. As she deals with her demanding mother and the trials and tribulations of growing up, she discovers a bizarre egg. Tinja decides to take in the egg and keep it warm, but what hatches is not at all what she was expecting. The metaphors rooted in this premise are super obvious and set up the prevalent themes of growing up that are explored throughout the movie.
Rautsi takes this premise and really dives headfirst into its absurdity. This is why the movie works more than anything. Its script and story are unafraid to take this ridiculous premise and take it to its extreme. I like how it blended the coming-of-age tropes with the body horror in a way that worked and didn’t undermine the story it was trying to tell. There are some individual moments that feel out of place, but it’s a forgivable flaw in the movie.
The leading performance from Siiri Solalinna is quite impressive for a young actor. As Tinja, she is able to take on this challenging role and convincingly get the audience invested in the character’s journey and growing pains. The supporting cast who plays her family is decent but doesn’t particularly stand out compared to her performance.
Without saying too much and spoiling anything, this movie’s defining trait has to be its fantastic practical effects. This is a movie that revels in the realism of its characters and premise, and this is achieved in no small part due to the work of the visual effects team. It’s very well done and doesn’t distract from the deeper themes in Tinja’s story.
Hatching is a great calling card for Bergholm as a director. The movie may deal with common themes and tropes, but it puts a fresh spin on its story that allows it to stand out from the rest of the pack. It has some problems with pacing and narrative beats, but it’s a bold movie that doesn’t shy away from the unconventional parts of its story. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny how oddly captivating many moments in this movie are.
Hatching is in theaters April 29 and is on VOD May 17.