Strength to Strength

Strength to Strength

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Strength to Strength ~ 2009
Story – Solomon Apete
Screenplay – Ugezu J Ugezu
Director – Ugezu J Ugezu

Starring:
Tonto Dikeh – Angela
Mercy Johnson – Jane
Mike Ezuruonye – Nick
Patience Ozokwor – Madam Juwase
Camilla Mberekpe – Nick’s mum
Ifeanyi Azodo – Dr Jillary
Emeka Amakeze – Mark
Chigozie Okolie – Chemist
Michelle Ikegulu – Sandra
Chudi Amobi – Ellis
Gaddiel Onwudiwe – Ugokwe
Isreal Moseri – Dr Ike

Themes
Childlessness
Infertility
Abortion
Polygamy
Materialism
Social Status
Family Pressure

My Rating – 87%

Madam Juwase has two daughters. The eldest daughter Jane, is in love with Nick, a radio mechanic that she wants to marry. Her sister supports her decision to marry for love and they both try and convince their mother that Nick is a good man. Their mother is not interested in her daughter marrying Nick at all as she sees his status as being lowly. Even though he is an engineering graduate Madam looks down on him, declaring him unworthy. Jane soon gets pregnant for Nick, and since they are not allowed marry, she sees no other choice for herself but to have an abortion, against both Nick and the Doctor’s advice.

*************SPOILERS*************

Materialism

Materialism is a big theme in the movie. Madam Juwase is driven by money, material things and the drive to obtain such things through her daughters who she vows will marry rich men.

Madam Juwase on explaining to Sandra why she will not put up with any of her daughters bringing home a man that is not rich,

“I buy everything. Their clothes. Their shoes, even their undies. Body cream? I buy it! And yet they open their mouth to tell me they are in love. What kind of useless love is that?”

On another occasion Madam Juwase warns Jane,

“If you have grown so attached to men, that you cannot do without them, then go bring me a multimillionaire. Present him to me.”

She does not see that Jane doesn’t want any man. She wants only Nick the man she loves. To Madam there can be no love with money. The two go hand in hand in her mind. We can see how her impoverished background has made her money hungry. Jane and Angela are treated as commodities that she can trade in marriage to improve her own situation in life. She does not seem to be too concerned with their personal happiness or wellbeing, not understanding how they cannot equate love with money.

She even places a premium over money over education telling Jane,

“What are you going to do with a certificate? Are you going to eat it?”

Outsiders are only treated with decency when they are flaunting their wealth and it’s trappings. We see this attitude in her treatment of Nick. When he came to get to know her and tell her of his intentions with her daughter, she immediately waved him away, going as far as to tell him that she needs a 2000 Naira consultation fee for him to even speak to her. When he can only come up with 600 she runs him away from the compound. On the contrary when Nick turns up to the house after only one month (is he not the same guy?) in Abuja her attitude to him is a complete turnaround to what it previously was. Impressed by his suit and car she welcomes him into the home with open arms, even nagging her daughter to forget any perceived wrongs he may have committed against her.

The lesson that we must bear in mind here is that all that glitters is not gold. A man can appear to be wealthy and dress well and drive a flashy car, but he may have rented the car, borrowed the clothes and not even have a house to live in. A man can even have all these things and have obtained it illegally which means that it can be snatched away at any time, thus education is important. Every situation is not permanent.
_____________

One of my favourite scenes is close to the end of the movie when Mike has banned Sandra (without telling her of course) from the home and the office for her troublemaking ways. She turns up at the office and is turned away, only to go to the house to be told that she cannot enter. She protests and tells them she is not coming to see Nick but his wives, to be told,

“They do not want to see you. Commot! Even the dog does not want to see you.”

One thing that I found particularly unbelievable in the movie was when the doctor said that he could not perform the abortion as it would put her life at risk, because of the positioning of the foetus. First of all she was barely even pregnant (early stages) so which positioning did they see? Secondly since when has any positioning stopped an abortion?

Even if it was an ectopic pregnancy an abortion would be recommended to save the woman’s life. Even in Catholic moral theology, the event of an ectopic pregnancy is one of the only cases where an abortion would in principle be allowed, since it is categorized as an indirect abortion, so this explanation seemed pretty unconvincing to me. It would have been better if they said that her fallopian tubes were scarred and so she was at low risk of ever conceiving again, hence recommending not having the abortion.
____________

All in all I loved this movie, except for the sound. They would often play loud music that would drown out the dialogue which proved rather annoying. However aside from that it was a very enjoyable watch, very funny in parts but also tear jerking in others. Mama G was in top form. I love the scene when one of the elders comes to visit her to get Nick’s address so that he can go their and complain about his recent lack of gift giving. The way she threw him out was classic, screaming at him,

“What did you ever do for anybody in your life? You have in laws too, where are my gifts?”

Camilla Mberekpe is another force to be reckoned with. Since seeing her in Tea or coffee I have been looking out for her and she delivered. We see a slight improvement with Michelle Ikegulu but she’s still got a long way to go. She is not a natural in front of the camera, always sounding like she is reading from a script.

Mercy and Mike have a very easy and natural chemistry together. Great pairing! Mercy’s favourite two words in this movie were “My loooorve!” She loves saying that and says it in every romantic movie that she is in. Makes me wonder how much actresses and actors add their own personal catchphrases and sayings to the script, or is it written in for them?

In short… This is one to watch!

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7 responses to “Strength to Strength

  1. i also love this movie because Mama G is there always very good at such and does it so naturally as if its her real self.

  2. I was actually directed to your site by Obinna Ukaeze, my able director of photography and he insisted I must see what you wrote.

    I am impressed that someone somewhere is spending time to criticise our movies. I am forever open to constructive criticisms. It remains the only way any responsible filmmaker will grow. I don’t know your name or location but you sounded like someone I will like to meet.

    What you said about the reason given for turning down the abortion is noted. Comments like this are important for growth in this business; but I must say that the pregnancy was right on the third month before the effort to abort was made.

    Hoping that you will comment on most of my other movies. No matter how hard you may decide to descend, I am always ready to learn.

    Sincerely yours,

    Ugezu J. Ugezu
    Tel: 234 803 3229022

  3. nollywoodforever

    Thank you UJU for coming by and commenting… mucha appreciated!

  4. Very good movie Michelle Ikegulu needs a couple of acting classes just to learn to make it more natural it sound like she got an earpiece with someone telling her her lines on the go but i think she has the potential to be really good every body else was very good as always 7/10

  5. nollywoodforever

    “potential to be really good.” Hmmm Bibi are u drinking liquor right now? LMAO I kid… however I think that anyone has the potential to be REALLY GOOD… The question is will she ever be really good?

  6. nonso ekene okonkwo

    I knew Ugezu always had something in his cup-board. My first encounter with him was on the set of “Last Occult”. I was the Assistant Director for Mac-Collins Chidebe(Mr China). Ugezu, a.k.a ‘surpulus’, was all over the place full of creative insight. Often,while shooting my own movies, I share ideas with him.He could be among Nollywoods finest. (NEO)

  7. I felt the movie ended abrubtly. Like it ran out lines. There was no way a man can live peaceful with two sisters as wives. So kill one sister while the other one get miracously pregnant. The end. Why wasn’t adoption consider? What Nigerians dont go for that. Over all it was good movie.

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