BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Lowladee does a good job with A Place Called Happy, a 2015 movie that tells a story of a Ghanaian writer called Abena (Sika Osei) who has to compete with her boyfriend’s (Mawuli Gavor) career for his attention. When he stands her up one more time, she calls her friend Michelle (Omowumi Dada) determined to end things with him. Then he surprises her by coming to apologize in person and making a marriage proposal which she skeptically accepts. When they go on a vacation and she finds in the morning that he has bailed on her once again, she decides it’s over and returns home, losing the manuscript for her book in the process.
Dimeji (Blossom Chukwujekwu), a Nigerian man on the verge of a divorce finds the manuscript in his hotel room in Accra, where he goes to clear his head as advised by his lawyer and friend, Dele (Deyemi Okanlawon). He reads it, is greatly moved by it, and goes on a journey to find the writer.
The story has a beautiful uniqueness to it that warms the heart. I commend also, the fact that even though they meet, become friends, get really close and almost kiss, Dimeji and Abena do not end up together as most would have anticipated. Instead, they help each other find their way back to love and happiness, which is what the title suggests. The unpredictability of the plot wins me over a thousand times.
The acting? Impressive. Omowumi Dada is a natural. Blossom and Deyemi do not disappoint, and Sika dazzles, if you decide to ignore the faux smiles and forced laughs she occasionally throws in. Kiki Omeili who plays , Dimeji’s wife, is mostly morose throughout the movie. Not odd, considering that she’s acting as one who lost her daughter five years ago (Note: five years ago). The issue is, who actually sits around and mops all day, and cries and stares into space five years after a loss? Yes, it’s painful, but five years is a long time to move past the initial grief stage. As promising an actor as Kiki is, this role does her no service. Mawuli could do better with his facial expressions, but that face is a very good looking one, so it’s easy not to notice.
In the moments of the moping and reminiscing, A Place Called Happy is rather slow and tiring, and tempts you to scream at it to get moving. For a movie that is only one hour long, it could have been better paced. Oh, and about being an hour long; now that’s dicey. There’s the short film category and the feature film category. It’s hard to place A Place Called Happy in any one of these. It just stands somewhere in the middle. I guess its place is somewhere called ‘Happy’ after all.
Dolapo Adeleke adds another feather to her already feathery cap of directing with this movie. A few issues here and there, but they’re nothing a good story, good acting and fine scripting don’t fix. Plus, this flick is quite engaging and would keep you glued. Plus the sound track is a delight to the ears. So, yeah, a fat thumb up for that place called happy.