— by WILLIAM STERR —
Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) is so lucky. She is a member of a perfect Finnish family. That’s what her vlogger mother claims. She lives in a perfectly decorated house with a beautiful mother, doting father and sweet younger brother.
At least that’s what the family vlog presents. In reality, Tinja is the repressed, friendless child of a domineering mother who wants to relive her own failed athletic career through her daughter’s forced success. Her father is weak and distant – even to the point of accepting his wife’s extramarital affair. And the dear sweet brother resents any attention given Tinja and does everything he can to get her in trouble. Get the picture?
One day, as mother (Sophia Heikkilä – “Invisible Heroes”) is recording yet another “perfect” family day, a bird gets into the house, breaking every glass ornament, chandelier, and table-top in sight. Tinja finally captures it but before she can release it her mother crushes it.
That night Tinja cannot sleep. She hears something and, going to the trash can where she put the bird’s body, finds it’s gone. But following the sound into a forest abutting the house, she finds the bird alive but in torment. Tinja tries to kill it mercifully, but it becomes a terrible experience. Then, nearby, she discovers a speckled egg – the bird’s egg? Taking it home she decides to try to hatch it to make up for the death of it’s parent.
Days pass, and Tinja’s unhappiness increases. Shockingly, the egg is not hatching, but instead growing larger. Finally it is as large as Tinja herself. And then it does hatch.
Writer/director Hanna Bergholm (“Puppet Master”) has given us a modern day coming of age story cloaked in a mystery and a horror story. She draws strong performances from everyone – even father (Jani Volanen – “m/s romantic”), whose part is that of a repressed, emasculated husband. This is expecially true with newcomer Solalinna, whose anguish is very real, and the overwhelming, suffocating mother portrayal by Heillila.
The “creature” that hatches is at once hideous, dangerous, and touchingly vulnerable as presented by the designers, puppeteers and Bergholm.
This is an enjoyable, thought provoking film with a new angle on an age-old story every one of us has, each in our own way, lived through.
Finnish with English subtitles.
Director: Hanna Bergholm
Writers: Hanna Bergholm, Ilja Rautsi
Producers: Mika Ritalahti, Nico Ritalahti, Nima Yousefi
Cinematographer: Jarkko T. Laine
Editor: Linda Jildmalm
Music: Stein Berge Svendsen
Runtime: One hour, 31 minutes
Availability: 2022 Sundance Film Festival // HULU, Prime Video, VUDU, Apple TV
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