BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
After a seemingly long hiatus, Stella Damasus returns to the screen with the movie, Affairs of the Heart, shot in the United States, directed by Robert O. Peters and produced by Neville Sajere.
Affairs of the Heart tells the story of a middle-aged medical doctor, Vivienne (Stella Damasus), who visits Nigeria on a medical missionary trip, meets and falls for a young male nurse, Eric (Joseph Benjamin). In spite of warnings from her friends Louisa and Evelyn, Vivienne goes right ahead and marries him. It is however revealed that Eric already has a pregnant wife in Nigeria, Stella (Beverly Naya) who he constantly sends money to for her upkeep. Stella is in on the plan to keep defrauding Vivienne and supports her husband, constantly keeping in touch and accounting for how she spends the money.
After siphoning just enough money to get a good house and a number of cars, he leaves a goodbye note for Vivienne and flees, excited to finally meet his son and be reunited with his wife. He is however met with a lot of disappointment and faces the consequences of his crimes.
There isn’t much originality to the story, save the twist of his ‘pregnant’ wife being not so pregnant and turning the tables around on him. It’s the story we know all too well: A takes advantage of B just to get what they want and flee. The inclusion of the subplots of the individual lives of Evelyn and Louisa help the story a bit. It however leaves questions as to what exactly Eric’s deal is. You begin to rationalize in your head: if he attempted to cheat with Louisa, whose husband is late, perhaps it’s all in a bid to turn the friends against each other. But again, to what end really? Oh, maybe because he sees Louisa is the very rational one who seems wary of him, and he doesn’t want her close enough to influence his pseudo romance with Vivienne. That just might be it.
Then a new question pops: why does he help resolve the issues between Evelyn and Michael and subsequently become friends with Michael? Oh, maybe to paint himself in proper light to gain their trust and erase every suspicion. Okay. That just might work. Sigh. Would it not have done the viewer much good if they’d just spelled it out clearer, so we know why what is done is done?
The acting is mostly good, but it becomes pretty obvious that its not really a hospital. How is it that we hardly see any patients, rather, many instances of attempted romance in the workplace (never mind that this clinic has only two doctors). It would seem like they have too much time on their hands in that clinic to spare, and then you wonder how she makes so much money when patients rarely visit.
This movie is about 90 minutes long. It would be a lot less if they’d done away with the unnecessary scenes and the typical Nollywood time wasting tactic of prolonged no-dialogue flashbacks that don’t do too much except have us yawn and yawn and almost choke on popcorn. The entire story is something we could easily deduce from the trailer, as the movie doesnt spring any new surprises.
I must commend the props, the photography, sound and soundtracks. I had no issues with anyone of these, and thought the director did a fine job keeping the pacing of the movie regular enough for good following. The message of the movie is unambiguous: be sensitive, be forgiving. Sadly, the story isnt strong enough to match the good directing and acting, and so Affairs of the Heart just turns out an average film, leaving you neither upset nor excited.