Story by Funke Akindele
Screenplay by Funke Akindele, Lekan Oropo, Taiwo Bello, Saheed A. Abolaji, Adelola Fadipe
Director: Muhydeen Ayinde
DOP: DJ TEE
I finally got to see this movie and I've gotta say, it is amazing. The Producer Funke Akindele, Director Muhydeen ayinde, Assistant Director Ilekan Oropo and DOP DJ Tee did a wonderful job with this film. I love it and I plan to purchase my own copy, it was that good. The picture was gorgeous, the product placement was hilarious but I am okay with it cause it pays for such a good film: Glo, the soap, the toothpaste. If you'll give me a good movie, advertise all you want.
The makeup was on point for the AIDS victims, the Kaposi sarcoma sarcoma lesions actually looked good. The girl who licked the old man's wound (and that was culled from an old Yoruba film where a character played by Bisi Ibidapo-Obe had to do the same thing--ahhh memories) ended up sick (same as the alluded movie) and her makeup was on point. The wound was also gruesome, so well done. The eyelashes were not extravagant, the nails did not make that annoying sound, these people looked like they attended college, even though we did not see classrooms it was believable. DJ Tee makes good pictures and this movie was yummy.
The village scenes were hilarious and I am glad this movie really used different and new faces, I am glad. In the village scenes, there was a part where some ladies had to audition for “Miss Ileya” and that took me back. I do not know the origin of Ileya but I know it was a feast like no other. Christmas and Thanksgiving do not even come close. There’s the ram or cow and the cooking, oh the cooking, and the parties...ah this film did Naija and the Yoruba people justice. I can actually recommend this movie to non-Nigerians.
Lagos state government, under Fashola, got immensely overhyped. To me, the guy is an average governor, he's not above average, he is doing the bare minimum. But after soaking garri all your life, white rice becomes fine dining. The movie did well in educating people about the advancements made in Lagos state and there were laws referenced here and there so hopefully the general populace adheres to the laws.
Again, the Nigerian police just had to show themselves. First, they are on the beach and they treated it like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Someone should kindly tell the actors and the real cops that running with a loaded gun in front of you is not advisable. But this is Naija. Oh and then they tell the ladies to "hands up and don't move" with guns in their faces without any kind of identification. Look, this is Nigeria. People with guns ordering you about = robbers, Boko Haram, police. There's a lot of options if you do not declare whom you are. At least robbers let you know by the time they tell you to get your phones and money out, and BH lets itself known with a bang!
Funke Akindele is an extraordinary actress. Her versatility is hmm...how do I word this, very close to second-to-none. She is not just good, she is amazingly awesome and she brings the best out of the other actors. She nailed this performance and not once did I see her as Bisi from "I Need to Know" or as Funke Akindele. This lady is amazing and I want to see more of her with other actors that need to show their faces some more: Bimbo Akintola, Uche Osotule, Sola Sobowale, Binta Ayo Mogaji...and the rest of them. Her accent, chai!!! This woman is a method actor. Not once does it change from Ibadan to Egba to Lagos. And therein lies a great actor, one who is committed to the character. She played dumb in this movie but she is far from it.
Helen Paul played a character with my name...and I absolutely loved her character not because it was my namesake. Oh, her character had depth. Her parents threw money at her but no attention and she found people willing to listen to her. I felt bad for her at the end of it all but I loved that she owned up to what she did. YES!!!! She did not cry to mommy or daddy, she was not going to be their little pet. Albeit that meant facing a murder charge but she can stand on her own. And I loved that she stood her ground against her parents. I was afraid this would be the classic Naija movie where we never speak against the parents, even when they are clearly in the wrong.
Omawumi is a gorgeous woman. AND I LOVED THAT SHE SPOKE PIDGIN!!!! I love things that reflect a culture, things that identify with a culture and Pidgin English is so Nigeria. Yes other nations have their own but hearing pidgin English side by side with the lingua franca and then Yoruba is so symbolic of the nation. The lingua franca is English and if you are going to brandish a diploma or hold some public office or position of power (which should have required at least a high school diploma) then you should speak it and speak it well. Speaking Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Efik, Pidgin are all bonuses. Now when a movie incorporates more than one Nigerian-specific language, it swells pride in me because the writers actually took the time to bring the characters to life.
The stars in this movie: Banky, Wizkid, Sasha, Naeto C, Kaffy, Denrele, Eldee were lovely additions that did not take away from the movie. They had cameo appearances with speaking lines and it could have been a mess—and this is where Funke Akindele shines. Her acting is so infectious. Denrele was adorable in this film. Oh my gosh, he and Jenifa did not get along till the end of the movie and that was just funny.
Rukky Sanda is alright here, her character was pretty solid as the leader of the cult/organization/sorority/gbogbo bigz girlz. Eniola Badmus is another knock-me-outta-the-park awesome actress. I saw Blackberry Babes and that movie is worthy of analysis on Naija’s society, and she was stunning there. In this movie, she is funny and I loved her. That I can still recall her after watching the film is something even though she only has a few parts. Yinka Quadri is “The Lecturer” and his character is the Naija lecturer. I wasn’t quite sure whether to say “average” or “standard” or “stereotypical” Naija lecturer but if you’ve ever seen Eedris Abdulkareem’s “Mr. Lecturer” then that is your guy. It was nice to see him in a different setting. Antar Laniyan was excellent as the self-absorbed politician.
My favorite part was where Jenifa was at the hospital and for the first time there is a Nigerian movie that does not condemn people living with HIV. The doctor shows her the possibilities of her results and flow of the scenes to the point where the doctor's voice and the lady calling her (to wake her up from her reverie) meshed was just beautiful. My thoughts were “let this be a reverie and let that voice meshing thing happen” and it did and it was so perfect I almost cried.
I never realized just how saying sorry can be annoying when someone is sick. So the girl with the "wound-licking-transfer" was ill and her boyfriend and friend just kept saying sorry every time she moaned and I just wanted them to shut up. They were saying sorry in English which is different from saying "pele" in yoruba. Pele covers more than sorry.
Jenifa’s old roommate, Shalewa I think, was a nice change. She was the opposite of Jenifa. Her clothes were worn but not torn, she was definitely not into the latest appearance. I loved her character because she is described as the ultimate college student. She studies and for pocket money she braids students’ hair. And she made the point of asking Jenifa how she could be sending money home, and her parents accept it, when she is a student---when she is broke. Which is a very, very, very good question.
There was something particularly poignant about the scene where Jenifa tells her parents she has an incurable disease. Her father preaches and while her mother is saddened, her mother is the one who consoles her or holds her at least. That particular scene had me shed a tear not because Jenifa thought she was going to die but because of the connection between mom and daughter and that the dad left. Even with everything the child does, she can only go to her mother.
I must applaud that this movie does not stigmatize those who are living with HIV or AIDS. When the doctor was showing Jenifa the patients living with HIV, and they were healthy, I actually said a silent prayer for the actors who were portrayed as HIV-positive patients. It’s sad but Nigerians don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between real life and a movie. Those people are actors and I wished they would not be accused of having HIV just because they played a character with one. It’s not only Naija, Korean dramas have their own fair share of netizens who just bash any actor/character—mainly the actor, who stands in the way of true love. Even with Jenifa thinking she has HIV, Kaffy and Eldee (that they are celebs helps drive home this message) reassure her that HIV is not a death sentence. It truly isn’t. I liked the way the movie approached that matter without harping on it.
I say 10/10