Genevieve Nnaji – Joy
Tony Umez – Odili
Clarion Chukwurah – Stella
Emanuel France – The Mad Professor
Jennifer Eliogu – Comfort
Jude Ezenwa- Chima
Christy Okonkow – Bridget
THEMES EXPLORED IN THE FILM
Hypocrisy of the “religious”
Gender Roles (The role attached to man as the “provider”)
Stigma of Mental Illness
Stigma attached to unmarried women of a certain age
MY RATING – 97%
Well… nothing has changed with Tony Umez. He is still a useless actor with a twisted up mouth and annoying way of speaking. Luckily he isn’t as awful as he has the potential to be in this film.
The story goes like this:
Joy and Odili are a married couple with two children. Odili was laid off his job over a year ago and so his wife Joy supports the family.
In the opening scene we see Odili arguing with his wife, (or I should say really himself as his wife is not doing much responding) about his situation. He is angry with Joy because she has hidden his sleeping tablets. she does not want him to become dependent on them and he gets worked up because he feels that she is emasculating him by being the breadwinner, as well as being him feeling generally down about being deserted by his friends and mocked by outsiders.
One day Odili is handed a life line by his friend Chima. Chima has been offered a business contract worth 5 million Naira, which he wants to collaborate on with Odili. However there is a catch. Odili needs to give Chima 500, thousand naira for the deal to go ahead, which of course he does not have. He tells his wife about the situation and in a loving and generous gesture she offers him her entire savings of 80, thousand naira which Odili nastily throws back in her face. This is the beginning of their relationship breakdown.
If you have not watched this film you may want to stop reading here.
Odili is desperate and willing to do anything, and when I say anything I mean ANYTHING to acquire this money so that he can be the breadwinner again. This is where Stella played by Clarion comes in. Stella is in say her late 30’s and unmarried and is willing to go to any means necessary to catch herself a husband. Of course Clarion excels in the role as woman scarred by desperation. It is roles like this when she is in her element.
Odili approaches Stella to ask for a loan so that he can complete the deal with Chima. He has less than a week to get the money, so time is of the essence. We find out that Stella and Odili have a history. In fact Odili knew Stella before his wife, and they embarked on an on off romantic relationship over the years in which it appears that Odili used Stella for sex and money and was not interested in wedding her, which is apparent when he marries Joy, a new woman in his life.
Stella, bitter from being duped by Odili refuses to give him the money unless he gives her the thing she craves for the most – A commitment, which means marriage. Odili in his desperation agrees to this, as long as the marriage can be kept secret.
I thought her desperation was a bit far fetched, not so much in that she would go as far as bribing a man to marry her, but in that she would brag about bribing a man to her friends, after all would that not be embarrassing? When Stella tells a friend that she meets on the road about how she bribed Odili into marrying her, the friend is all praises and,
“gimme five giiiiiiiirl!”
As if, essentially paying somebody to marry you is the best thing in the world! Are some women really that desperate?
Is that the result of society stigmatising unmarried women out of their twenties?
And if indeed some women are that desperate would they really shout out their scheming plans from the rooftops as if it were something to be proud of?
One thing that stood out for me in the film was the use of the Lord’s name in vain. Chidi asks Odili where he got the money from and he concocts a fantasy story about an Old School friend returning from the United States, exclaiming,
“I knew God would do it for me!” in an attempt to obviously shut Chidi up, were he thinking of asking any further questions with regards to the acquisition of the money. I found it an absolutely ridiculous statement to make at the same time, considering that it was his ungodly, lies deceit and cheating that allowed him to get his hands on the money.
Genevieve Nnaji shows great versatility in this role and does a great job in portraying someone who is mentally ill following the curse put on her by Stella. Her paranoia and disassociation are ON POINT!
Emmanuel France too is great as the “Nutty Professor.” The scattered speech and gross delusions of grandeur are perfected to a T. I love that he invites Joy into his “mansion” which in actuality is a broke down hut with a dirt floor and filthy battered objects cluttering the place.
In this film it can be seen that the idea the mental illness is caused by possession by the devil or a Juju curse still pervades. The film reinforces this in that we see the start Joy’s insanity after Stella’s Juju ceremony. It would be nice for mental illness to be portrayed in a way where it is not characterised by evil spirits. In a way where you can not just wake up one morning, rub your eyes and become sane again because the one who cursed you died, as happens in this film.
Overall I enjoyed the film. I thought it explored themes that are very important for us to consider and explore in today’s society. The film was up tempo and kept you engrossed. The cast were excellent and played their roles very well. I also liked the fact that they kept it in one part, and still managed to fit in a well developed plot.
Nollywood Production – Nigerian Movie – African Movie – African Film – Nigerian Film