BY TONI KAN
Every movie has an emotional core, its beating heart.
In The Women, Blessing Egbe’s latest movie which opened in cinemas yesterday, the core lies in a statement mouthed by Teni (Omoni Oboli) who tells her long-suffering husband: “Where two or three women are gathered, there is a silent war.”
Cold, hot or silent, wars lead to casualties and there are casualties aplenty in The Women.
The premise of The Women is not absolutely original and neither does it pretend to re-invent the wheel. What Blessing Egbe, who gave us Lekki Wives, has done is to present us with a story (sprinkled with her inventive touch) that is real-to-life, thought-provoking and funny as hell.
Consider this killer exchange between Chubby and Omo.
Chubby: Does your husband know you are here?
Omo: No. If he finds out he will kill me
Chubby: So why are you here then? You want to die?
Her stellar cast is worthy of commendation; the men include Femi Branch who is hilarious as the overworked husband Ayo; Kalu Ikeagwu is Bez who is married to celebrity chick, Teni; Anthony Monjaro who plays Maro is a study in control while fat dude Gregory Ojefua is well, Chubby.
Then we have the women; Ufuoma McDermott is Omo; beautiful, sexy but materialistic. Her husband is going through a bad patch but the only thing on her mind is a destination 40th birthday party and when Dubai will not happen she chooses a resort in-country.
Omoni Oboli is cold and unfeeling as the snobbish celebrity wife of Bez. She is imperious and condescending.
Kate Henshaw is Ene. Married to a fat, illiterate slob of an Igbo man, she is sexually uninhibited.
Katherine Obiang is Rose and she is suffering from a strong case of konji. Married to Ayo, they are the only real couple in the movie and even then, they do have their moments but in them, one can see the explication of the maxim – a couple that trashes things out, stays together!!!
The four leading female characters are dysfunctional with a capital D. They are like distended boils ripe with secrets; a little prick and it all comes spilling out.
That ‘prick’ comes from a weekend getaway at a resort where Omo has planned her 4oth birthday party. Here, Blessing Egbe, who is a triple threat on this movie as writer, producer and director, shows her deft storytelling abilities.
Riding the wave of the true and tested “Couples’ Get-away trope”, she gives us a compelling Nollywood comedy drama or to use her term, “dramedy” which shows us how carefully laid plans can unravel. The four couples’ time away leads to the revelation of secrets with dire consequences for all concerned.
But first there is a young woman, a model, who is at the resort and who, surprise – surprise, used to work for Maro, Omo’s husband.
Call her a distraction and you won’t be far wrong. She is the only wrong move in an otherwise beautifully constructed story. Her being at the resort is so contrived and doesn’t play well with the verisimilitude already established.
For verisimilitude, just look out for when Kate Henshaw grabs and flings a bottle!
But The Women is, on the whole, a well done, feel-good movie which even though it addresses very tough concerns from adultery to avarice, child abuse to mental health issues, still manages to avoid the sentimental preachiness that can so easily creep into movies like this.
This is a movie that does not attempt to get ahead of itself. The plot is well articulated with a story that is explicated by a cast of wonderful actors. The sound and photo quality are near excellent and the only time there is a snag is at the lounge when Omo loses it and the sound quality flags.
Omoni Oboli’s mae culpa at the end should be taught at drama school. She is brilliant as a woman tired of lying and hiding and who is finally ready to lay it all bare albeit a tad bit too late.
Many times, when we see a movie, we focus too much on the stars, blinded by their shine we do not pay enough attention to the writing, to the peculiar turns of phrases that make all the difference. Blessing Egbe is a brilliant writer and her best line in this movie occurs at the resort while Omo and her husband, Maro are having a conversation.
Maro: Why did you lie?
Omo: I did not lie. I just chose not to tell the truth.
And isn’t that what most of us do?
The Women holds up a mirror to our materialistic and lie-addled society and the reflection is not pretty.