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Netflix’s ‘Nimona’ may be one of the best movies this year, and it’s animated

Nimona is a surprisingly delightful film that silently dropped on Netflix, but has almost instantly become one of the best films to be released this year.

Nimona is an animation film which tells the story of a knight who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is the titular character Nimona, a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he’s sworn to kill.

It is based on the 2015 graphic novel of the same name by ND Stevenson, and takes place in a futuristic version of the Middle Ages.

Originally a Blue Sky Studios production, it was set to be released in 2020 but after The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Blue Sky, the production received pushback from Disney’s leadership due to the film’s queer themes.

It was delayed multiple times before being cancelled due to Blue Sky’s closure in April 2021. However, the film was revived and eventually acquired by Netflix.

Nimona is unexpected and has that special factor about it that will worm its way into your heart.

One of the trickiest things about animation films is how they use themes of being good, and doing right, yet having to find fresh ways of keeping such themes from being trite or boring.

Nimona, like some of the best animation films, digs into what it means for good to fight evil, and how evil doesn’t always come in obvious ways that we’ve been told to expect.

The film really takes Riz Ahmed’s character, Ballister Boldheart, and really forces this already heroic character to go on a journey of discovering what it truly means to be a hero, and how it doesn’t always mean using brute force or physical skill.

Ballister Boldheart’s chemistry with the often chaotic Nimona, voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz, is one of the best things about the animated feature.

The two have an awkward relationship, and learn to trust each other. Ballister Boldheart isn’t a perfect character, as we learn quickly that he can be ignorant, which is a lesson that rings very close to reality as many of our heroes sometimes are.

Nimona tells a story that could have easily felt boring and stereotypical but avoids those pitfalls. It teaches without being preachy, and if you want to ignore the lessons it shares, it is ultimately a very heart-warming tale that many will fall in love with.

Eugene Lee Yang does a great job as Ambrosius Goldenloin, who has an intimate and intricate dynamic with Ballister Boldheart. The two have an established bond, which helps make the stakes between them feel realised.

The voice cast, which also includes Frances Conroy, Lorraine Toussaint, Beck Bennett, Indya Moore, RuPaul Charles, Julio Torres and Sarah Sherman makes the movie all the more enjoyable.

Ultimately, it is the relationship between Ballister Boldheart and Nimona which drives the tale.

We see how both of these characters learn from another, and how their fear of each other pushes them to having growing distrust. This results in us seeing the characters at their weakest moments.

The movie smartly goes on to highlight how it isn’t the weakest and lowest moments which define us, but how we choose to remedy mistakes, and make things right.

Nimona has so much goodness to unpack and it’s important to share it when we comes across it, which is why the film is a must-watch for the whole family.