BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
You are most likely to hiss or roll your eyes a couple of times within the first three episodes of this series. It would come across as a High School Musical wannabe with a dash of Boys over Flowers, a drop of Camp Rock and a sprinkling of the Ibadan brand H-factor. You may not be amused by the acting either, unconvinced by the story. Then, slowly, as you stay with it –as you most like would- you would experience a change of mind you can’t really explain, and the unpromising start would mean nothing. That change of mind that takes place, that element that keeps you following while still rolling your eyes, is what makes the series win. In the meantime, let’s talk what works and what doesn’t about Beautiful Song.
Categorized as a musical drama, Beautiful Song tells the story of Shalom, a gangly, artsy twenty-year-old who still wets the bed and is signed up for a musical camp by her father to help her get a social life. At camp, she meets a boy whose facial painting she had made from her imagination, but they get off on the wrong foot. While still trying to cope with a terrible roommate, her bladder control and the hatred of the most popular boy at camp, the one from her painting, she is stuck with him for a series of musical lessons and feelings begin to develop on her end. But the things working against her are stronger than she imagines, and when she gets hurt, she comes into her own and puts up a fight.
A series created by Bukunmi Oluwasina, the Beautiful Song story is a beauty. It has many features that show it was properly thought through from start to finish, and for the number of episodes, about eighteen of a twenty-minute average length, this is really commendable. The attention to detail in the crafting of this story warms your heart upon realization, and you’ll find that this is something special.
However, it is a diamond in the rough because execution is most often trickier than idea creation. There are acting performances that don’t sell you one bit, dialogue that isn’t strong enough, scenes that are unnecessarily long, and a risky plot twist in the end that almost doesn’t work. Plus, the inclusion of a gay character is a complete miss and gives the series an immature feel. Research is important when adding a bit you don’t understand, and it appears the filmmaker fails in this regard.
But here is what works. The story arc, the journey we go on with the two leads, how they begin to grow as individuals, how they go from hate to love and back, how the conflict gives you a headache, and when the resolution makes you smile, it isn’t fully a smile because you suddenly realize there’s still more headache lurking. The music is mostly good, with songwriting that is laudable for the depth of meaning and flow embedded in its lines. Some of the song performances are also impressive, and it is noteworthy how the telling of the story isn’t hinged on the musical performances. One can do well without the other.
Beautiful Song as a title is referenced one too many times till it begins to seem forced on the story. Majority of the characters never sing too or do not even seem to know how to sing for people in a music camp. A few more practical and less theoretical classes could have done the magic. The series stars Olumide Oworu as Geoffrey, Bukunmi Oluwasina as Shalom, Joke Muyiwa as Fatima, Yinka Salau as Dairo, Funmilayo Mustapha as Jenny and Chris Anyanya as Lateef. Oluwasina Akinkunmi shows off his musical deftness on this one and gets our attention. Woli Arole makes a cameo here too.
A 2016 series published by Libra TV and directed by Paul Bogunmbe, Beautiful Song works more than it doesn’t and gets a thumbs up for its diligence.