Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
Silent Scandals ~ 2009
Story/ Screenplay – Vivian Ejike
Director – Okey Benson
Producer – Vivian Ejike
Genevieve Nnaji – Jessie
Uche Jombo – Mukky
Majid Michel – Naeto
Ebele Okaro – Helen Ubaka
Chelsea Eze – Ella
Tessy Oragwa – Tina
Peachman Akputa – Etim
Pope Stan U. Ndu – Jay Jay
Paul Frank – Richie
Isaac David – Alhaji Danladi
Oladimeji Alimi – Alhaji Aide
Ime Bishop Umoh – Akpan
Dami Solomon – Tonia
My Rating – 76%
Jessie despairs over her wayward daughter Ella. She steals, drinks, smokes and stays out all night with her boyfriend Naeto without any regard for her mother. She is uncontrollable. Her mother is at her wits end and devastated when one day she has to pick up her young daughter from a police holding cell after being caught shoplifting. This action is the deciding factor in her being sent by her mother to live in the UK to live with her father.
After Ella’s departure Naeto falls on hard times and desperate to provide for his family he takes a job as a driver on his neighbour’s recommendation. His new boss is a highly strung career orientated woman who has little time for fun. Slowly he begins to break through her steely exterior and the two become close. Little does he know that this woman who is his boss is also Ella’s mother.
All in all a great group of actors and actresses were selected to play the characters. No drive by performers, except for Naeto’s best friend Richie played by Paul Frank. He was teetering the line between drive by and acceptable.
I loved Majid Michel playing the Naija boy role complete with the Pidgin English. His intensity is concentrated in his eyes and he uses it well so it is understandable that he always gets roles in which love and women and the seduction of them play a large role. It is a role that he plays to perfection.
Genevieve Nnaji kills it in the scene where Naeto declares his love to her. She is stripped bare and her vulnerability exposed. She tells Naeto,
“Has it ever occurred to you that I am human…that I feel too… I may hurt sometimes”
It was an excellent performance from Genny, from the expressiveness conveyed in her eyes, to the breaking of her voice mid speech. It is the first time her character Jessie shows raw emotion. This is coming from a woman who is usually a complete killjoy. Can you imagine a woman that reprimands staff for singing Happy Birthday to her?
I liked the build up of chemistry between Majid and Genny. Just like in Emerald the chemistry was intense and electrifying. It is not immediately apparent which makes it all the more beautiful as it comes across deep and intense as we watch their bond strengthen over time. We see a real connection between the two as Naeto melts away Jessie’s steely exterior.
Naeto and Ella also had great chemistry. We see the laughter and playfulness between the two. In fact their characters actually appear to get along better than Majid and Genny’s which is often fraught with tension and hesitance. Although they both long for each other neither one knows where they stand with the other.
I thought Chelsea Eze was cast well as Ella. She was also a good actress. She looked like a teenager/young adult, and at the same time tall, slim and pretty with great bone structure so it was very believable that she was a model.
This is the first Naija movie I have seen where a chick was wearing a bikini and not a bikini over a swimming costume and some cycling shorts! Kudos on that front because it looks so fake to see someone in a swimming pool with a million layers of swimwear on, a la Juliet Ibrahim in Naked Weapon
The build up of tension to the inevitable fall out when the love triangle is exposed is carefully engineered. By the time it got to the surprise party for Jessie that was actually being held at Naeto’s heart my heart was pounding fast, anxious and eager to see what the reactions all round would be.
The story was flawed for me because in order for it to work certain situations had to be engineered that did not really make sense. For instance the situation where Ella was sent to stay with her father in the UK but instead went to stay with her grandmother in Abuja was a little far fetched for me. The father would have been expecting her, so when she did not arrive would he not have been worried and contacted her mother. There is no indication that he is in on the plan so this was a glaring omission in my eyes. Wouldn’t Ella have called from the UK to say she had arrived? Wouldn’t a UK number come up on her mother’s phone?
Another of these situations was when Ella wants to stay with her grandma, “til I figure out what to do.” Yet she claimed to miss her mother so much and hadn’t seen her in a while. Wouldn’t she have wanted to rejoin her mother if this was the case? It would have made more sense to me if she said that she wanted to stay in Abuja until she finished school or because that was where the modelling jobs were. I mean what on earth was she supposed to be figuring out?
Ella when she comes back into Jessie’s life is supposed to be 20 and Jessie supposedly was pregnant when she was barely that age which would make her around 38-40 years old. I wasn’t buying it. I thought they would have fared better if Genevieve was supposed to have had Ella when she was 15/16.
I didn’t think Jessie driving to the slums where Naeto lived and ordering him to drive was very realistic. If the guy was at the point where he had had enough of her snotty attitude then her turning up and giving more of the same and his accepting it did not seem feasible to me. Or did the fact that she came to look for him give him hope that perhaps she felt something for him so he simply obeyed her command clinging onto that hope? D’ya think? Maybe?
Sound was sometimes poor which made it difficult to comprehend what was going on all the time because the voices were too low at times. Even worse was when the voices were low and then music blasted over the top, because even if you put the volume up, the music on top only got louder too. This music over dialogue happened at a very crucial moment when Naeto was dumping Ella so it was highly disappointing not being able to clearly hear what was being said.
I thought the scene where Ella was caught shoplifting was ridiculous. The woman in the store attempts to convince Ella that the size 10 will fit her, after Ella has emerged from the dressing room and has already stated that the dress is too big for her. The woman tells her, “Its ok, just try it on.” Huh? You saw her just come from the dressing room and she told you it is too big. Why are you saying Its OK? Noo! it is not OK.
A hilarious scene was at Jessie’s surprise birthday party when Naeto’s friends schmooze up to Jenny assuming that she is Ella’s friend. One of them throws her seductive looks while he kisses her hand. When she reveals that she is Ella’s mother her hand is dropped like a hot rock!
I was confused about the relevance of the first fashion show clip we see. It was inserted randomly between scenes. It does not fit in and seems rather like overkill in the shameless plugging for Zizi Cardow. It would have made sense to save the fashion scenes to fit in for after Ella becomes a model and tie it into that storyline. This was done too but it should have been left solely for that.
During the scene where Muky tried to organise an abortion Jessie is reluctant saying,
“A D and C, at my age? It’s too risky.”
What has age got to do with an abortion? Is it riskier for a 39 year old to have an abortion as opposed to a 18 year old? I don’t think so. In fact according to research teens are up to twice as likely to experience dangerous cervical lacerations during abortion compared to older women, probably because they have smaller cervixes which are more difficult to dilate or grasp with instruments. Teens are also at higher risk for post-abortion infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and endometritis because their bodies are more susceptible to infection and they are less likely than older women to follow instructions for medical care. So that statement was not based in any fact at all.
At the end of the movie we get up on the screen 30 MONTHS LATER. I had to laugh. What was that in aid of? Why not say 2 years or 2 ½ years later? Who want to be watching a movie and then doing mental arithmetic at the same time? Additionally who understand the end of this movie because I did not get it. I understood that he chose to be with neither woman but at the same time what was all the business in the car about the bomb?
I would recommend the movie. It had a quality that felt far superior to the regular Idumota stuff you get and it was enjoyable, despite the flaws highlighted. The magic you get on screen with a Genevieve and Majid pairing is alone enough reason to watch. THUMBS UP.