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This Lady Called Life (Movie review)



“Aiye dey do you”.

This is a popular Nigerian street maxim that implies that you are a victim of circumstance, literally. Though also used to underpin that the source of one’s failures and/or retrogression is most likely because some evil individual or individuals’ is/are after you with voodoo or enchantment and even maybe, curses.

The saying has become a common alibi for most dreamers who give up or give in to spiritual gymnastics, rather than take on life’s brutal resistance against breaking through in a highly competitive world.

“This Lady Called Life” is a brilliant playout of the above-described reality. The name of the movie itself is a poetic play of words. On one hand, it implies a howl against life’s eventualities (like in ‘life happened’) and on the other, it introduces the lead role, Aiye, who’s an exhausted receptor of the harsh exigent bartering of Aiye (life)!


This 2020 romantic drama that stars Abisola Aiyeola as Aiye starts off painting the struggles of a single mother attempting to trade her misfortune for a big dream of becoming one of Nigeria’s most famous Sous-chefs. The biggest platform for showcasing her cookery talent lines before her but the struggles of juggling babysitting and delivering home-made food to her customers was going to stop her from getting in on time, to write a popular entrance exam for amateur chefs. Fully prepared and well-studied, she makes it in just in time for the exam only for her phone to ring and Jemima Osunde (Toke in the movie) gets on the line with the news that their mother (Legendary Tina Mba) has just been rushed to the hospital.

Aiye ditches her exams and rushes off to the hospital to discover it is not an emergency worth throwing away her life’s dream for. She returns to her lowly life saddened, after giving off the first sign of the dysfunctionality in her relationship with her mother.

Aiye’s father, played by Wale Ojo, comes visiting quite early the next day and theatrically gets her to agree to come home after several years of banishment, enforced by her mother, who couldn’t forgive her for getting pregnant while at school. She’s needed to take care of her since her father, an out-of-town university lecturer, and her sister, a pregnant new bride are not available to do so. She takes along her son, who has prior, had no relationship with his grandmother. The corrosive atmosphere of Aiyetide’s formative years soon becomes a new reality, as the movie goes on to show the damages of verbal abuse, compassionless parenting and the misery of a child that is never heard.

Aiye would soon find love in a customer and photographer, who opens the last door to the stage where her life’s dream stares her in the face. She’s become glossophobic because of her life’s experiences, and this hunts her even in her dreams. Again, ‘life happens’ in this her rare shot at a better life and in a flux of love, mistrust and hatred from her own mother, Aiye gives her best towards having a happy ending.

Kayode Kassum, the Yabatech and Wale Adenuga Productions-trained young filmmaker once again brought his expertise to bear in this work, just like he’s done with the highly successful movie Sugar Rush and other brilliant works. The Bisola that we know is extremely playful, one could imagine the amount of work it would have taken to get her into the character of a reserved and very serious Aiye – they must have shot and reshot some scenes to pin her to the script. The was definitely immense hard work to have achieved the excellent delivery that is seen in all major characters.


The plot of “This Lady Called Life” is simple, almost like a stage play, but the execution clearly took meticulous care. Aiye’s one-room apartment and her parents’ house were shot in a way that the entire set could be collapsed into one big stage. There’s nothing fussy or overdone in the film’s look, nothing to distract. Human interaction is the main event here. Some interactions are intense, most others ordinary, but well lined with the striking realities of the society.

The highlight of the movie would be the scene Aiye walks into her mother flogging her son with a hanger, just after getting through the first audition in the ‘Red Dish Amateur Chef’ contest (by the way, Red Dish is a real-life leader in culinary arts training in Nigeria). Aiye comes out of her silence and confronted her mean mother for the very first time:

“You are a wicked mother…Tola raped me, I came to tell you, I begged you but you never listened”.

That scene, that phrase – “you never listened” sort of climaxed the train of lessons on the ill side of stern parenting that this movie sort to underpin. African parents expecting sainthood from their children and trashing them down anything they do not live to their religious/peer-pressure-coloured expectations, end up turning their wards to the cold hands of life and in most cases worst influences. Taking away vital support systems of love, empathy and attention, because a child wouldn’t fit into a parent’s mold is nothing short of callous. This fact was well delivered in this film.

It is very nice to see a film deal with this salient parenting issues with excellent nuances, particularly at a time we are dealing with major cultural differences between parents of varying generations. Also commendable is the film’s showcase of non-traditional and not-so-popular career paths of culinary arts and photography as an image of a worthy life pursuit by the main characters.


The Cast
Bisola Aiyeola as Aiye
Efa Iwara as Obinna
Jemima Osunde as Toke
Tina Mba as mummy
Wale Ojo as daddy
Lota Chukwu as Omo
The Crew
Director: Kayode Kasum
Producer: Abisola Yussuf and Kayode Kasum
Screenplay: Toluwani Obayan

The “it” Factor? There is nothing novel about this work.

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Adire Review: There are loose ends…



Tunde is a psychopath, who is unconsciously infatuated with the town preacher’s wife…

Sade is the holier-than-thou mummy GO’s style. Yet the most intelligent of them all…

Did you know that a storey building was burnt down for the sake of a movie about a prostitute?

If you think I’m lying? Then watch the movie here.


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A Tribe Called Judah: And so what?!



By Victor Ojelabi

“A Tribe Called Judah” is not your typical movie about the teachings of the Christian faith; it’s a wild ride that challenges conventional norms.

Also read: Funke Akindele’s movie “A Tribe Called Judah” breaks Nollywood records

While the storyline might seem contradictory to religious principles, the film’s engaging narrative and stellar production make it a must-watch.

Produced by the talented Funke Akindele, the movie revolves around five brothers faced with the daunting task of raising funds for their ailing mother’s kidney dialysis. Their solution? A daring plan to rob one of their sibling’s wealthy boss.


Akindele’s dedication to this project is evident, with the film boasting twists, turns, and a level of professionalism that cements her position in Africa’s thriving film industry.

The five brothers, born into a family unapologetic about their unconventional origins, embark on a heist to steal over $2 million from an upscale furniture company.

The plot thickens as their well-planned operation takes an unexpected turn when another group attempts to pull off the same daring theft.

The movie not only delivers an engaging heist story but also tackles pertinent social issues. It defends women’s rights, condemns domestic abuse, empowers single mothers, advocates against alcohol abuse, and ensures that justice is served.

While “A Tribe Called Judah” may not be an adrenaline-pumping action movie, its well-delivered messages, impactful dialogues, and excellent cast choices make it a standout production. She still found a place to tuck in the forgiven Toyo, even if it’s just a waka pass. Forgive na forgive.


The film serves as a testament to Akindele’s storytelling prowess and her ability to weave together diverse themes seamlessly.

One of the movie’s strengths lies in its relatability, offering several takeaways for the audience. Whether it’s defending marginalized groups or promoting social consciousness, the film strikes a balance between entertainment and meaningful commentary.

However, one may still need to investigate the type of pistols used in the movie as they only seem to run out bullets as the director needed and how a direct shot through the right side of the back goes straight through the heart to kill someone.

Akindele’s latest work, having grossed over N1 billion at the box office, marks a historic achievement in African cinema.

“A Tribe Called Judah” is more than just a heist movie; it’s a captivating exploration of family dynamics and societal challenges, making it a worthy addition to your must-watch list.


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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Black Book’ on Netflix, A Revenge Thriller from the Streets of Nigeria



You know Hollywood, you’ve at least heard of Bollywood, but do you know … Nollywood? That’s Nigeria’s film industry, which is booming enough to give its cinema a catchy name with some cultural caché. Netflix is even getting in on the action with The Black Book, now streaming on their platform.


The Gist: Corruption is running rampant in contemporary Nigeria within the world of The Black Book, so much so that the police can just openly kill a young man on a beach and expect no consequences for it. But they don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into this time because bereaved father Paul Edima (Richard Mofe-Damijo) is far more than just the pacifistic deacon that he appears. Paul has a checkered past in the country’s military that he’s tried to bury even in his own mind, but the soldier in him re-emerges to take justice into his own hands. Enmeshing himself once more in the web of violence and corruption is not something he takes on alone, however. His journey nack into the underworld that he once inhabited requires engaging with some old allies as well as a surprising new one: a crusading journalist intent on using the press to expose the country’s bad actors.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: The Nigerian hybrid of Taken and Spotlight you didn’t know you needed.

Performance Worth Watching: The leads fighting for justice in their own way are good, but it’s Shaffy Bello as Big Daddy who proves the real MVP of The Black Book. She (yes, you read that pronoun right) is a force of nature in her capacity as a high-powered enforcer.

Photo Netflix

Memorable Dialogue: “The past must die to truly serve the future.” A line so nice they say it twice, once at the beginning without context and again at the end when it means something very different.

Sex and Skin: The Black Book stays focused on the action in the streets, not between the sheets.

Our Take: There’s plenty to admire in co-writer/director Editi Effiong’s dramatic thriller, but there’s little that really inspires a viewer to really lean forward in their seats. It’s always pitched between two very different ways a movie can be without fully committing to either. For example, it’s partially a character study of Paul’s final reckoning with the past, but it’s also somewhat allegorical for the Nigerian nation on the whole. Technically sound filmmaking can only go so far within a work that doesn’t really have a strong sense of what it wants to be. It can’t help but be a bit deflating to watch the big final scenes and know that they could have been a real wallop with a full film’s worth of momentum behind them.

Our Call: SKIP IT. The Black Book is not nearly bloody nor brooding enough. There are interesting components in this Nigerian thriller, but without a stronger sense of cohesion between plot and style, it feels instantly forgettable.

Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance film journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, The Playlist and many other outlets. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.



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