BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Directed by Lancelot Odua Imasuen, Lonely Heart is a 2013 movie starring Belinda Effah, Kenneth Okolie, Okey Uzoeshi, Ini Edo, Desmond Elliot, and a host of others. It is a story of Aima (Effah), who, when her older sister with drug and money problems sends her out of the house, is left with nowhere else to go with her luggage but her office. Her colleague, Charles, who seems to have taken a liking to her offers to take her to his home, and when she is skeptical, he assures her that it is on a platonic note because he is gay.
Yemi, Charles’ housemate and a serial womanizer, is forced to pretend to be Charles’ partner to keep up with the lie, much to his displeasure as he later admits to Charles that she is his kind of woman. Soon, both men develop feelings for her, and try to outdo each other in making this known, but she interprets their gestures as friendly since she believes them to be lovers until one of Yemi’s numerous girlfriends visits in their absence and spills the beans. Aima feels betrayed and leaves.
On the other hand, there is Debby (Ini Edo), a movie director and producer, who is married to an egoistic Daniel (Perez Egbi), who shares her profession. He is verbally and physically abusive to her, but they keep up appearances in public until the producer on one of her directing sets begins to notice. When Debby is almost strangled by her jealous husband, she is forced to leave him. She is subsequently invited on a date with the producer and develops feelings for him.
These are the two main stories of Lonely Heart, but there are additional stories on the side like that of an influential woman, Tiana (Barbara Shoki), who had an affair and has cancer; that of Aima’s boss who would love to publish Tiana’s story, affair and all; that of Aima’s sister, Lizzy (Uche Jombo) who is in huge debt and who suddenly disappears.
It is enjoyable to watch two men battle each other for the love of the same woman, while still pretending to be who they’re not. It is fun, until it begins to seem impracticable, and overly dramatic. Still, Lonely Hearts is entertaining in that angle. The rest of the angles of the movie, however, are a different story entirely. Lizzy’s especially. It is an absolutely unnecessary addition to the plot, if I may say so. It is a bore, a distraction and a waste of time and talent. Uche could readily have taken the role of Tiana, or gone to work on another project.
Babara Shoki as Tiana doesn’t even begin to have anyone sold by the end of the movie. So she has on this ‘I know everything’ smile, drinks wine throughout the movie, and says things like ‘I have been dia-gonized…’ through her teeth. Hello, Editor!?
The Debbie and Daniel story presents nothing new. The message against domestic violence can never be over emphasized, but perhaps a fresh perspective other than the ones we’ve seen a million times over in movies would be more welcome and impactful. It is really just a question of creativity, and maybe research.
The scenes are improperly arranged. One moment, Debbie is in the hospital, holding life by its teeth. The next she is on set, making man-related banter with Aima (did I state that they seem to know each other in some way and Aima didn’t think of moving in with her when she was thrown out of the house by her sister?). Anyway, the next scene, she is back on the hospital bed, holding life by the… Phew!
There are also obvious editing mistakes splattered all over Lonely Heart. There’s a scene where Daniel drops his saucer of biscuits in anger, sending the biscuits flying across the table for cover. When he picks up the saucer seconds later, however, the biscuits are sitting pretty in the saucer, nicely arranged and with a smile on too. Also, in the scene where Yemi is taking Aima out in his car, it is just both of them in the car; he is driving with both hands and she is seated on the passenger seat with both her hands before her. Yet we see a hand behind her head; a hand we cannot account for. Is it the hand of the gods?
Overall, Lonely Heart might entertain you, but the mistakes would have you cringing one too many times. The many additions to the story make it a tad unrealistic and a little too flowery. Blackmailing your boss and having her congratulate you for it comes off as weird, and while Aima does this, she is even offered a raise! The acting isn’t terrible (well, except for the ones in the movie directing scenes of the film. Now, those are just ridiculous), but it isn’t exceptional either, as Belinda Effah, who is the face of the movie, begins to repeat the same expressions as the movie progresses.
It isn’t the most impressive movie there is, which is why I’d give it a 40 out of 100. Meh!