The film begins with a young girl named Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) who moves into a new apartment with her mother, father and an older sister who has a disability. We discover that Ida isn’t overly happy with the family’s new living arrangement and is frustrated that her sister requires more attention than her. In fact, audiences will be shocked to find that Ida isn’t a nice person, and we witness moments where she is mean and cruel. One example is when Ida decides to pinch her sister while her mother isn’t looking. We also discover that her sister doesn’t seem to feel or respond to the physical pain caused by Ida.
While the family try to adapt to the lifestyle change, Ida is encouraged to meet new kids and make some new friends. Wandering around the building block, Ida soon meets a young boy, and they become friends. But it’s not long until Ida learns that her new friend carries a special and strange ability. This boy isn’t the only one with a secret. Soon, Ida will learn that various young children around her also have unique powers that can be used for good or evil. Ida begins to question if she, too, has some new powers since moving into the neighbourhood. Either way, Ida’s world will become darker and more disturbing.
The Innocents is best described as a thriller and drama film with a touch of fantasy/sci-fi. This film made me feel various emotions, and I was pleased and happy in one moment before being deeply disturbed and tense in the next. Unexpectedly, the film has multiple touching moments. Other moments are unsettling, and watching Ida be cruel towards her sister is also not an easy watch.
The plot grows into something far more dramatic and heavy as the film makes various reveals, and nothing is predictable. I found myself rather invested in the story as many characters with many different abilities are introduced. The performances are all top-notch. The young actors here don’t disappoint and deliver a highly believable and pleasing performance. There are so many uncomfortable moments here that the young actors are tasked to bring to life, and they delivered so tremendously that I generally felt for all the characters. I found myself hoping for good outcomes even when certain characters don’t deserve them because, in the end, they’re just kids. For the most part, the pacing is great, with only the crossover between the second and third act slowing the film down ever so slightly. The finale has a couple of questionable aspects relating to the plot and characters, but I was still left feeling highly satisfied.
Overall, this is a highly creative film packed with drama, suspense and even fantasy. The child performances are flawless, and their characters are touching and gripping. For the most part, the plot is exciting and creative, but I can’t deny for some audiences that this won’t be an easy watch. I found some moments disturbing; however, the outcomes and characters’ journeys are all highly surprising, not to mention emotional. The Innocents (2021) is Available in Australian Cinemas from May 19th!