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A review of Somkele Iyamah's "She is".

N. F. Kenure

I did not have to watch this twice to know what I think of it.

This movie hurt me. With a name like She is and a lead like Somkele, I was looking forward to a strong female lead with something to say.  

 

Basic premise of the move is Frances (Somkele Iyamah) who sells real estate is hurtling towards her forties with no man for a partner in sight. Of course she’s a born again christian who heads the singles unit of her church. This woman pretty much teaches other people, mostly women, to pray about finding their ‘god given’ partners. The urgency of her ticking  biological clock is ramped up when she finds out she has fibroids that require her to have a hysterectomy. She has twelve months to make at least one baby before her uterus has to be taken out. Dun dun duuuuuun!

Sigh!

She is made me realize I need to cast a wider net for  movies to watch. If I actively invest more time just watching Nollywood movies, I will find one good one right? I mean there are a lot of wonderful Nigerian story tellers. I read their stories every day on social media and consciously decided to only read African Literature this year. Why isn’t this translating to the movies that I’ve seen.

 

The music/sound/sound effects were terribly juvenile.  The underscoring of situations with cartoon-like sound effects in a drama was jarring. Also, stylistically, the movie could not seem to make up its mind what it was, and was all over the place.

 

Frances just happens to be walking past an uncompleted building (not the street o!) and pretty much walks into an old dear friend, Jessica played by Omawunmi. Omawunmi has had a child without a man and thinks that her friend should do the same. She’s here to encourage her friend to do the ‘unspeakable’. The godawful dialogue especially between Somekele and her friends was fascinating to me. How do you tell your friend something so life-shattering and her response is to clink wine glasses in what I guess serves for emotional support? Who thought that was good enough?

 

Chigurl is over the top in all of her scenes. Chiwetalu Agu cannot help but let out one of his signature faux- proverbs. Frances’s character is badly written, unsympathetic, and rude to her subordinates. She goes as far as asking her gate man to kneel down and raise his hands as punishment for interfering in her personal affairs. She is also not turned off by a potential mate who is just as rude and condescending to people around him. Aunty dont care about the strength of your character, but your ability to impregnate her within the holy confines of wedlock and yet, ‘She is’. She is what? What is she? There’s nothing to aspire to with this creature, there is nothing to be inspired by. She is desperate enough to go to her father to ask to be matchmade with any of his friends, and her father who has a sugarbaby of his own played by Linda Ejiofor, proclaims his disrespect for his girl-child  by sending her a caricature of a man as ‘comically’ dramatized by Frank Donga.

 

Desmond Elliot steps in, well into the movie, with what I now understand was supposed to be a Mr. Darcy-esque facade. I don’t get it. Why is Mr. Doctor so glum? But then, he proclaims his love and it dawns on me; he is supposed to be the “archetypal aloof romantic hero”. Yet, no time is wasted deepening this new character. There is no chemistry between the doctor and the patient. Who has time for such nonsense? Who cares that especially as her gynecologist, it would be unethical for him to be anything but professional with a clearly psychologically distressed patient? We Nigerians don’t care for such sensibilities. Why should we?  A doctor should shoot his shot if a fine girl comes into his office, where else will he meet his future wife? And he did try to fob her unto another doctor at least. Also, our girl deserves to marry a doctor for all her troubles. And so, with gratitude to God, Frances accepts a marriage proposal from the very first man who asks for her hand in marriage.

 

I don't know what she is.


Posted:

Apr 5, 2019