BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Muyiwa Aluko has tried his hands on a number of genres, but one thing we can all agree on is his ability to work magic with romantic dramas. From North East to Love Regardless, Aluko has mastered the art of getting you to feel, as he does in this 2018 film, In Sickness and Health.
We dive right into the meat of the story, even though we cannot read through the WhatsApp conversation Tinuke is having with whoever she is chatting to. What we can see clearly is Priye’s face, his anger, his malice, and as soon as they get home, it is unleashed through slaps and strokes of the cane. He is jealous; his wife, Tinuke, had been dancing with her sister’s boyfriend and he thinks she should have known better.
We find them when they meet at an art exhibition of Tinuke’s paintings. The attraction is instant, and a sharp contrast to what it is now, three years later. The rest of the story leads us from then to now with intermittent flashbacks, and to the degeneration that takes place on their marriage to a point where it becomes smithereens of what it used to be, and then a journey to piecing it back together and reviving its pulse.
In Sickness and Health shines with its writing, how it is able to convey every emotion the characters feel, every emotion it wants the audience to feel. Another thing that works is the portrayal of these characters, doing a fantastic job of giving the story life. Priya is played by OC Ukeje and Tinuke by Beverly Naya. Their chemistry is great, their falling out is greater, and you are at the edge of your seat almost all through, trying to sort their marital issues for them.
With supporting cast members Meg Otanwa as Lola, Bukola Oladipupo as Amaka, Mawuli Gavor as Kunle and Rotimi Adelegan as Solomon Igwe, In Sickness and Health is even-paced and deep, stirring conversation about marriage, domestic violence, forgiveness and mental health.
You give the training at the gym bit a side eye, however, as it doesn’t seem thorough enough to birth the fighter Tinuke eventually becomes. Because it is an open gym, it also raises questions as to why there are only always two people in the gym, not that this directly affects the telling of the story in any way, but it makes us wonder if Kunle made their sessions private, causing us to think that maybe he truly had a motive of seduction.
It is beautiful how the story doesn’t really conclude. We see the signs of a resolution brewing, but it also makes us put ourselves in Tinuke’s shoes, in both their shoes in fact, and wonder what we would do.
The original music by Michael Demi and Maka is brilliant, which is no surprise if North East is anything to go by. The scenes are beautifully arranged, and the way they fit into one another in places gives the story a finer telling. Realising what the film title really depicts in relation to the story creates an ‘aha!’ moment that makes the entire film even more poignant.
Written, produced and directed by Muyiwa Aluko, In Sickness and Health is a decent, moving film.