Movie Review – She is.

I had just turned six when my grandmother of blessed memory came to our house from church. My baby brother was barely a month old and she came at least three times daily to see the baby, give him his daily baths, that kinda thing.

 
She asked for paracetamol because she had a headache and after she had taken it, I decided to pray for her so she could get healed. I put my tiny hands on her head and prayed earnestly for her. A few minutes later, she declared her headache gone and I was ecstatic, I had the gift of healing! Mama and I told everyone about the miracle, if we could have put it on CNN we would have.
 
Waje and Omawumi produced “She Is”, the movie is currently showing in cinemas nationwide. Nnamdi saw it days ago, recommended it, and I went to see it (so if you go to see it and don’t like it, you know who to channel your complaints to).
 
As I watched the movie, I thought about the place of faith in healthcare and the marriage of science and the supernatural and if the product of that union doesn’t leave either party largely unsatisfied with the other’s role in the process.
 
The movie was about a wealthy woman approaching the magical cutoff age of forty when the internal organs of an unmarried woman shrivel and die, let’s not forget that her skin mutates into a green hideous sac that emits foul-smelling gases which might be possibly poisonous.
 
I don’t think any other Nigerian actress could have pulled off playing Frances Anyaoku with as much dignity as Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama did, it was a delight to watch her navigate the quiet desperation of her character with grace and without that edge of bitterness that would have been too tempting for a less skilled actress to resist. IMG-20190330-WA0000.jpg
 
Frances had to run her race against time with double speed, not only was she getting severely old, but she also had a medical condition which would make having her own children a near impossibility – according to the film. She had to have a baby quickly and being a born-again Christian, it wasn’t as simple as looking for a man to get her pregnant.
 
I am not going to talk about the gaps in the story and how glaring the lack of research into the condition she was supposedly suffering from. They could have better plugged certain plot holes in the stories if the writers hadn’t been so nonchalant about the intelligence of the viewers. Anyway Nollywood has never had storytelling as its strong point, this film is not aspiring to buck the tide.
 
The cast gave a good account of themselves, from Ali Baba who basically wore his agbada from The Wedding Party and sauntered onto the set, he was good for a few laughs. To Frank Donga who was the silliest suitor ever, I felt her disappointment in my very soul when Frank turned out to be the suitor her father sent and not the handsome man who was waiting in her living room.
 
Moving on from her disappointment when her crush on her pastor ends up in ashes as he chooses another sister and asks her to plan their wedding because she’s such a great organizer (that scene is perhaps worth the price of the ticket), she decides to give the character played by Mawuli Gavnor a chance even though he doesn’t tick the box of Born-again Christian.
 
The movie tried hard to show the importance of consent, Ali Baba’s character despite being in a bedroom with her, didn’t try to force it. Mawuli actually was wearing a towel with his abs and pectoral muscles on display, he didn’t try to continue his advances either when she said she wasn’t interested in taking things further. That scene was fire! Even if like me, you aren’t a fan of muscles, you would understand her struggle to keep her hands off him. I wanted to touch him too, and I finally understand why many women find him drool worthy.
 
When she finally found a pastor as a romantic interest, it wasn’t hard to see that it wouldn’t’ work out. He turned out to be the worst of her prospects. In a movie where Chiwetalu Agu wanted to make her his third wife because she was first lady material and his two wives were not, you can imagine how terrible the pastor was.
 
Speaking of Chiwetalu Agu, his character made a goof in the movie that I find unforgiveable. To show his serious interest in her, he became a knight of the church and he came to see her in his full knighthood regalia. When he said “I have just become a Knight of St John, Anglican Parish”, something in me fell over and died. Why couldn’t they do a little research? Just small research!
 
First of all, what the fuck is an Anglican Parish? Secondly, we do not have the Knight Order of St John in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion. These things are not hard, if they had spoken to an Anglican Priest they would have gotten the right information. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if an Anglican wrote that part of the script sef, too many people belonging to a denomination that they know nothing about.
 
Omawumi, Chigurl and Waje provided “comic relief” and the banter between Waje and Omawumi as characters with vastly differing world views, was beautiful to watch. Chigurl was largely forgettable, apart from confirming that Mawuli’s character was irresponsible (which he already agreed he was) her character didn’t drive the plot forward. Elvina Ibru played the nanny to Omawumi’s baby, a very beautiful baby who made my ovaries dance.
 
My favourite character was Chief Anyaoha played by Uncle Ejike Asiegbu, he played the indulgent father who wanted nothing but his daughter’s happiness and was even willing to build a church for his daughter’s pastor suitor and pay his humongous tithe in his church. I like how the Chief lived his life on a jaiye-jaiye level with Linda Ejiofor at his side, who didn’t utter a sentence in the movie. Segun Arinze and Desmond Elliot also make appearances in the movie and help bring about the denouement.
 
When Waje made that video about quitting music, not a few people suggested that it was just publicity for this movie. If she is considering quitting music for movie production, I think this is a valid start.
 
While I didn’t quite like the ending, it felt rather rushed to me (keeping with the story). I think for a debut effort, the cast and crew can say they tried. After all, that is more than enough in these parts.
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2 Comments

  1. When we watch a Nigerian movie these days, we tend to tell the people who watched it before we did, not how was it, per se but “shebi dey try?”. Dem no try at all oh or Dey try small.

    Reply

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