Her mother presents their lives as perfection on her video blog Lovely Everyday Life, every moment a success, every movement planned and every smile practiced yet presented as though they were spontaneous, an illusion in which Tinja has been made complicit; practicing for the upcoming gymnastics competition at school and at home, stretching and contorting, before going for her evening run to stay trim, she is not allowed anything so childish as friends.
What the camera does not capture is the cracks in the shell, Tinja’s fear of failing, her need for affection to be given to freely rather than as reward for her achievements. Walking in on her mother kissing another man, she is bribed with a new outfit in which to perform in return for her silence; her mother giving permission to keep secrets, to tell lies, Tinja has no reason to tell her parents about the monster under the bed.
Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) a young girl blossoming, turning into something new, looking for beauty and belonging and finding only hypocrisy, it is through her eyes that director Hanna Bergholm’s Hatching (Pahanhautoja) is told. Her mother (Sophia Heikkilä) having killed a crow which flew into the house, shattering the calm, Tinja did the same when she found a wounded bird in the forest, taking home its egg which grew as she nurtured it under her pillow.
Her father (Jani Volanen) docile in his blithe acceptance of his wife’s weekends with Tero (Reino Nordin), Tinja’s brother Matias (Oiva Ollila) is his carbon copy in dress and mannerism and thus Tinja is expected to follow her mother’s lead, accepting no weakness and taking whatever she wants, but it is the hatchling which Tinja names Alli (also played by Solalinna in the later stages) which inherits that singular pursuit of purpose.
Absorbing Tinjas’ tears, her fears that the world is neither honest nor kind, the pressure to succeed and conform, the creature that hatches becomes the manifestation of that resentment, at first a birdlike creature which feasts on her bulimic tendencies but rapidly metamorphosing into something more humanlike and dangerous, a wordless doppelgänger which expresses its rage through violence.
The child having created a monster for which she is now responsible, Hatching is exquisitely performed and holds the attention as the dream of happy families splinters and falls apart, the lurking truth behind the masquerade of authenticity as ugly as the oppressive floral wallpaper which lines the walls of their home, a sculpted blending of social commentary, horror movie and cautionary fairy tale.
Hatching will be on general release from Friday 16th September