NIMBY

Comedy, Drama, Romance, 1 hr 34 min

Mervi and Kata, a lesbian couple living in Helsinki, are considering coming out of the closet. They soon realize that they are not the only ones with secrets.

 

NIMBY is wild, it is quirky, it is bold, and it is one to remember…

There is a fine line between genius and insanity and NIMBY rides this line; weaving between the two in tantalising fashion. Picture a family drama where every member of the family is suddenly revealing secrets, inner insecurities and/or frustrations that may be unbeknownst to themselves let alone to each other. Then add to that religious and political divides not only within the household but within the whole local community. And then, add to that violent tendencies and a life or death situation. Only then may you have an idea of what to expect from NIMBY. Brilliantly subversive in all areas from family values, religious teachings, and political ideals, NIMBY dares to challenge them all and overthrow all expectations of normalcy whilst somehow maintaining relatable characters. It is for sure one of the most original and multi-layered films I have seen.

The name NIMBY stands for “Not In My Backyard” and I don’t know who they’re trying to kid here because absolutely EVERYTHING is happening right in their backyard, on their “front doorstep”, under and over their roof; like anywhere and everywhere, it is all “going down” at Mervi’s family home! Written by Teemu Nikki, Jani Pösö and directed by Teemu Nikki, NIMBY is definitely a dark comedy with a twist. Granted, there is a lot of overlapping chaos from Mervi (Susanna Pukkila) announcing having a girlfriend to her parents for the first time, her parents revealing their secret polygamous relationship, her ex-fiancé displaying wannabe-Nazi characteristics, and all the parents clashing in religious, cultural, and political beliefs as well as language barriers. Yet underneath it all I believe are intelligent and wise messages embedded within all the action that unfolds and they include lessons such as to surrender to your differences, to use “peace not violence” and to truly communicate between each other without yelling or contempt. One must try not to wait till you are within 10-minutes of impending doom to have an honest conversation or exchange confessions with your significant other or to realise that you must keep in touch with your family even if they are “hillbillies”.

Mervi is an unlikely heroine but an easy one for the audience to relate to and see through the eyes of. This makes it that much sweeter when she does take a stand and threatens to blow peoples’ heads off whilst making a rousing speech. Despite coming from different worlds, Mervi’s relationship with her girlfriend Kata (Almila Bagriacik) does not feel contrived at all; the chemistry and banter between these two feels dynamic and natural. So much so that I only realised at the end that the main couple only had one onscreen kiss, which goes to show just how well they portrayed their year-long connection in their body language and dialogue without having to prove it with any gestures. From bicycles versus vehicles, hair that is wrapped up versus long free-flowing hair, refugees versus neo-Nazis, a small pistol versus a large shotgun, and bouncing between 3 languages (Finnish vs. German vs. English), to throwing a priest, a politician, and hippies together – the list of contrasts is endless and adds to the overall eccentricity of this crazy film.

Much like we “shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”, sometimes it would seem you cannot judge a film by its trailer and NIMBY is testament to that; at least it was for me. In all honesty I was apprehensive about watching this film as from the trailer it seemed like it could be over-the-top, a bit too “whacky” – both in absurdness and violence – and maybe I wouldn’t find it funny. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that yes; it was indeed all of those things but with even more elements to bolster it up and create a collage of a masterpiece that I didn’t even know was possible. I must pay homage to the ultimate and resounding message from NIMBY which was “You don’t have to love each other, you don’t even have to like each other, but you do have to tolerate each other. All people are deep down the same.” – This is a lesson so many of us around the world would do well to adhere to. Needless to say, I was left fascinated and bewildered, as well as amused by this film. NIMBY is wild, it is quirky, it is bold, and it is one to remember. Catch it while you can at Wicked Queer 2021 or at a film festival near you!

Films with a similar style of storytelling include Kiss Me Before It Blows Up (also known as Kiss Me Kosher), which showed earlier at Wicked Queer, and Lez Bomb (- available to watch for UK & Ireland on Lesflicks Video-On-Demand now).

      

This article was written by:

Ping

Ping

Writer, Reviewer, Social

Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.

She/Her