Babycall Review: Labour Day

On General Release Friday 30th March

Noomi Rapace (The Millennium Trilogy) once again plays a young woman with mental health problems struggling against the system that’s supposed to protect her.

Here she’s Anna, a mother forced into hiding from her abusive husband with her eight-year old son Anders.

But is everything all that it seems?  Anna suffers from hallucinations, frequently doesn’t remember where she’s been and is paranoid that Anders will be harmed if she’s not around to watch him every second.  Living in fear of her ex-husband finding them and under the threat of her sexually-aggressive child welfare officer, Anna forms a tentative relationship with mild-mannered shop assistant Helge (Kristoffer Joner) when she goes to buy a baby monitor.

But when the monitor starts to pick up screams from a flat in the same block, she begins to doubt what she’s hearing.

Rapace is superb. With pale skin and feverish, often frantic behaviour, she does an excellent job of conveying fear and confusion and provides the necessary emotional hook to get us invested in her character.  Joner is also good as the lonely stuttering, shoe-gazing clerk and their burgeoning relationship provides a sliver of hope that Anna’s future will be a little brighter.

But although the premise is interesting and the tension is ratcheted up significantly as the film progresses, everything falls apart in the final act, which piles on too many inconsistencies and is far too far-fetched to be satisfying.  Consequently the ending feels like a huge cop-out and ruins all the build up of the rest of the film, ultimately frustrating rather than rewarding its audience.

If you’re a big fan of Noomi Rapace, it’s worth watching for her performance, which is superb.  Otherwise, Babycall is best left alone.

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