Fifty is a thought-provoking film which highlights issues we face daily in our individual lives and as a society. It is an adventure filled, comic-styled movie that would be hitting the cinemas come 18th December, 2015.
With Fifty, we aren’t confronted with the dirty littered streets, the bus parks and its usual noisy crowd, the hustle and bustle associated with Lagos and most especially dilapidated buildings. No, this movie portrays Lagos in its best possible light yet and we love it.
It was screened in Lagos on the 23rd of October, 2015, directed by Biyi Bandele with Mo Abudu as the executive director; produced by Tope Oshin Ogun with Malcolm McLean as the director of photography.
‘Fifty’ showcases the lives of four middle aged women in their late 40’s and early 50’s dealing with life issues that are seemingly reserved for the youth. We watch them explore their sexuality, relationships and witness how their lives connect regardless of their social status and class. How they juggle their career and every day life, determined to create a balanced lifestyle, by infusing excitement into their lives.
We are also shown how unresolved traditions and obligations are dealt with in the lives of these African women.
Fifty is intriguing as it keeps you glued to your screen from start to finish. I’ll attempt to make a solid case for the movie and why I enjoyed every bit of it.
It was a great source of entertainment with its brilliant cast and plot twists. Biyi Bandele used well known actors that brought their A game to their respective roles: Ireti Doyle embraced her role effortlessly showing a risqué side to her (one we are not sure we have ever seen before now); while Omoni Oboli, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Dakore Akande were brilliant and obviously comfortable with Biyi’s directing style.
There’s Lizzy (Ireti Doyle) who is a successful obstetrician who has a toyboy for a lover, coupled with an estranged relationship with her young adult daughter.
The movie highlights the strained relationship between young adults and their parents, how unresolved anger, the lack of communication can cause a breakdown between loved ones. Lizzy’s relationship with Shade is strained, the secret as to why is revealed as the plot thickens.
Tola (Dakore Akande) a television show host, from a wealthy pedigree; married to a lawyer – Kunle, is in a loveless marriage, a no-nonsense woman seen and portrayed as a neurotic, haunted by a past and lives life scared with insecurities.
Her story focuses on secrets and its adverse effects that tend to ruin family and or friendships. We are also reminded that relationships cannot be judged by outward appearances. One needs to get proper insights into the lives of others, in other to truly understand (not judge) the circumstances surrounding actions or reactions.
Fifty also broaches the subject of infidelity and living with the consequences of our life choices. We watch Omoni Oboli in the role of Maria – the business mogul engage in extra marital affairs with a married man and gets pregnant for him at age 49.
There’s also a subtle message about pro-life in this story, highlighting the option of abortion as out of reach especially given her age and the risk of complications.
And then there is ‘Sister’ Kate as Nse Ikpe-Etim a thriving entrepreneur who is married to Chike but is obsessed with religious activities, ignores her marital duties, hopping from one religious house to the other in search of a miracle for a life threatening ailment she’s plagued with.
It narrates how family, love and religion are intertwined in a marriage: issues of marriages, myths, preconditions and factors that surround it. The ease with which we lie to ourselves and brush sensitive issues aside under the guise of words not spoken out loud cannot be real. How religion can be practiced to extremity, indicating a thin line between faith and obsession.
I would go on and rate the movie by scoring it an 8/10 simply because I’m trying to leave room for healthy criticism. The movie had its low points and its high points, but more high points are noticeable, I’ll highlight a few I observed:
One Sided Lagos
I appreciate the effort to sell the good parts of Lagos and all, but without the hustle and bustle it seemed too surreal. It feels like it catered only to a specific class of people, one where if you didn’t belong might have some difficulty relating to with all the calmness that was sold as Lagos. Example: there was no traffic situation in Lagos! Even if one stays in Banana island lately, traffic is a menace. Maybe a bit of everyday Lagos would have made it more believable. I also do not recall seeing the signature yellow and black buses on the roads at all (or maybe I just missed it, because it wasn’t a distraction).
I want to be sold emotions and not just talk. It’s a little underwhelming when somebody breaks some huge news and it’s taken so calmly. When a news is big so that it changes your outlook on life, makes you question your past and your future perhaps, I would expect some rush of emotion. Regardless of age or status, epic reactions are necessary to sell the effect to the viewers. Or maybe this is just because I’m an overly emotional being, maybe, I’ll let you decide for yourselves.
The build up of the movie is beautiful, successive scenes, quickly put things into perspective and the presence of music helps carry it along nicely too.
Plot and Twist(s)
The film was a great source of entertainment with its brilliant cast and plot twists. It wasn’t a clichéd storyline and even if you envisioned the end from the beginning or somewhere in the middle, it didn’t disappoint or underwhelm at the end.
I like how the movie scenes flow into one another seamlessly, explaining how the lives of these four women are intertwined. The director ensured that the events in the story were tied perfectly at the end of the day, leaving no questions unanswered.
The writer – Bola Agbaje was very inventive with the plot and kept us glued to the screen as she swiftly laid a foundation for every scene with the previous scene. It was everything but boring and the characters were credible with their words and acting.
The costume choices fit the style of the movie and were carefully selected to portray the image of the actors. It didn’t take away anything from the overall tone of the movie but actually enhanced it. Nothing looked out of place or ill-fitted. Yolanda Okereke did a great job with the costuming of this movie.
The soundtracks flowed well with the story lines and scenes but didn’t give away too much of the suspense. It was well used, wasn’t irritating but also conveyed the message of the scenes. The subtle background music was also a beautiful and noticeable contrast with the fast paced life style associated with Lagos.
Lest I forget, there are some pretty amazing cameo appearances; legends in the Nigerian music industry such as: King Sunny Ade, Tiwa Savage, Waje, Femi Kuti, Nneka.
I loved how it was so easy to infuse and interchange from English to vernacular to pidgin. It also portrayed an established friendship that wasn’t based on lies. I like the relationship between Lizzy and Maria and how they could tease one another one minute and switch up to serious conversations the next. Their relationship as friends was very believable.
Dialogue was believable and interesting and most of all didn’t leave you questioning what was said or what was heard.
Oh my, there are some steamy parts to this movie. It is rated 18 and for good reasons too. Do not take your children to see this movie plus you might need to hold a fan along with you or perhaps a cold drink to calm you down. The scenes were so believable that it isn’t anything cringe worthy.
From the mention of rape to other issues faced by women/men in our society, you would find that there’s a lesson in there, one that stirs up thoughts on improved life choices. The message in the movie brings awareness to pressing issues facing society today.
I would say this one is a must-watch as it is a different experience, different from the regular drama and covers sensitive issues. Make it a date to go and watch it. It should be fun.
Having seen this movie already, would I still go back to watch it again? Hell, Yes! I would, you should too.