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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

🏆 Nimona (2023) - Shapeshifting Hearts: A Tale of Courage and Change

Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 stars)

Released 06-30-2023

Watched 02-10-2024

Reviewed 02-14-2024

Watched on NetFlix

"Kids. Little kids. They grow up believing that they can be a hero if they drive a sword into the heart of anything different. And I'm the monster?"

"Nimona," the 2023 animated marvel directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, is a vibrant tapestry of humor, heart, and high-stakes adventure that adeptly bridges the gap between fantasy and science fiction. Based on ND Stevenson's acclaimed graphic novel, the film is a visual feast, boasting animation that effortlessly elicits awe and wonder, particularly from younger audiences, as noted by my 16-year-old daughter during our viewing. The world of "Nimona" is a beautifully rendered amalgamation of medieval aesthetics and futuristic technology, a setting that serves as the perfect backdrop for the film's exploration of identity, friendship, and societal norms.

At the heart of the film is the eponymous Nimona, voiced with spirited versatility by Chloë Grace Moretz, whose performance captures the complexity and charm of a shapeshifter struggling with her identity and powers. Riz Ahmed lends his voice to Ballister, imbuing the character with depth and a sense of gravitas that complements Nimona's whimsical nature. The chemistry between Moretz and Ahmed is fantastic, driving the narrative forward and grounding the fantastical elements in genuine emotion.

While the film shines in many aspects, including its engaging plot and well-timed humor, it falls just short of perfection due to a desire for more nuanced character development. The relationship dynamics, particularly between Ballister and his knight-turned-boyfriend Ambrosius, offer a rich vein of storytelling that could have been further explored to add layers to the narrative. However, the film's pacing and the need to balance multiple storylines may have constrained deeper character explorations.

"Nimona" transcends traditional animated film boundaries by weaving in themes of acceptance, the fight against prejudice, and the celebration of diversity. The inclusion of LGBTQ elements, such as a gay knight and a non-gender-conforming protagonist, is handled with a deftness that underscores the universality of the film's message: the fear and hatred of the unknown. This theme resonates profoundly in today's societal landscape, making "Nimona" not only an entertaining film but also an important commentary on empathy and understanding.

The film's musical score and vocal performances further enrich the viewing experience, with each element meticulously crafted to enhance the emotional and narrative arcs. The accolades and nominations for Best Animated Feature from various awards, including the Critics' Choice, Annie Awards, and Academy Awards, are well-deserved acknowledgments of the film's artistic and storytelling achievements.

In conclusion, "Nimona" is a commendable addition to the animated genre, striking a delicate balance between light-hearted adventure and poignant drama. It offers a refreshing take on traditional themes, wrapped in a visually stunning package that will captivate audiences of all ages. While it may leave some wanting in terms of character depth, it stands as a testament to the power of animation to tell complex, meaningful stories. "Nimona" is indeed a deserving contender for the Best Animated Picture, capturing the imagination and, more importantly, the heart.


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