BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Gbenro Ajibade and Annie Macaulay Idibia star in this 2016 movie as a dysfunctional couple whose marriage is threatening to be ripped apart by pent-up resentment, suspicion and infidelity.
The husband, Emmanuel, is dealing with issues from his past which he has never been bold enough to confront. When he begins to see changes in the appearance of his wife, however, the resentment pitches in full swing and he channels them all at her because he is certain those changes could only have come by another man. At a loss of what to do, they both individually turn to a psychologist called Uju (KC Ejelonu), each one oblivious of the other’s attempt at therapy. Emmanuel has a mistress, but leaves her during the course of his therapy, and while Imabong (the wife) admits to seeing someone, it turns out it is Umar (portrayed by Segun Arinze), Emmanuel’s father, and for the sole purpose of reconciliation. The psychologist, at some point, is torn between being professional or using her influence to help Emmanuel, who has now become her friend, and save his marriage. It is also revealed that the mistress, Rose, is actually Uju’s long lost sister, and that her family is just as dysfunctional.
An Hour with the Shrink by One Soul makes an attempt at depth, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. It makes an attempt at suspense too, but falls flat when we actually find what we’ve been holding our breaths for. So Emmanuel ran away from home because his father stabbed his mother in the heart, but when his father comes twenty-eight years later and mumbles a few apologies, he gives him a big hug and all is well? What was the point then, of all the many lost years and anger and bile? And I still don’t understand the twenty-eight years. Emmanuel says he left home at sixteen, Umar says he hasn’t seen his son for twenty-eight years. This would mean that Emmanuel is forty-four, but alas, it’s Umar who looks forty-four, while Emmanuel looks thirty. I mean, its Gbenro we’re talking about here; how in the world can he be cast as forty-four in a 2016 movie, without aging makeup?
The theatrics turn out to be unnecessary. Imabong cries almost through the entire movie, and Emmanuel suddenly collapsing because he’s thinking about things his therapist, mistress and wife said to him is just overly dramatic, a drama that isn’t justified at the end of it all. In an attempt to create a twist, we find that the mistress and the therapist are actually sisters, and that’s just very yinmu-worthy considering it never really happens that way in real life. Annie makes a number of blunders too: ‘I packed behind at the back.’, ‘worst’ instead of worse, and that place, among several others, where she says Cross River is the capital of Calabar and Akwa Ibom is the capital of Uyo. Classic.
In the end, you wonder how you managed to have spent two hours of your life going through this much torture. Apart from being really slow and wordy, An Hour with the Shrink is uneventful, and most certainly not the film you would want to see again, that’s if you manage to see it through the first time. Yes, there’s some good acting scattered all over it, but it isn’t strong enough to carry the weight of its weak and unexciting story.
35% here. *YAWNS*