PRODUCER: Uduak Isong Oguamanam and Uche Jumbo Rodriguez
DIRECTOR: Desmond Elliot
Royal Arts Academy Production
The movie “After the Proposal” (or “The List” as it is called in my head) centres around the implications of traditional/cultural expectations on the lives of young contemporary couple. As a romantic comedy drama, credit for majority of the comedic moments can only be given the performance of Patience Ozokwor who even though wasn’t given any particularly brilliant lines has enough experience to deliver comedy through her interpretation of the character. Mixed with the sometimes overacting of Uche Jumbo, isolated quite great performances by the some of the not-so-popular actresses and a very convincing leading man, wrapped in a few fine social messages, “After the Proposal” is a nice movie … although I’m not sure ‘nice’ is what they were going for. You can find a further breakdown below.
Cast: A well selected cast, it wasn’t an overcrowded stew of well-known faces. Even though a risky move it paid off as some of the best performances were from those not so familiar faces like Keira Heywatch (Lisa) who was a totally believable femme fatale. Would have loved to see her share some screen time with Patience Ozokwor, and her chemistry with Anthony Monjaro (Kenneth) was quite electric.
Story Development: Initially I wondered about the over-dramatic antics of the character Onyinye (Belinda Effa). It was impressive to see the story adequately explain why she acted over the top sophisticated unlike her average family. In fact for me the most poignant scene in the movie has got to be between Mary (Uche Jumbo) and Onyinyechi (Bellinda Effah) where we were able to see her character fully develop. The story could have done with less arguments between the kinsmen, and definitely without the appearance of ‘Mama’s’ sister. Personally, I think a better exit for Lisa (Keira Heywatch) would have been through a clash between she and ‘Mama’ (Patience Ozokwor); it was too easy the way her role wrapped up.
Production: It was a relief not to have sound tracks that drowned out the voices of the actors however some of the sound effects were more cartoonish than comedic. The initial transition between the scenes was quite like watching Nickelodean which was a bit distracting but this was adjusted later on in the movie. It felt like there was an abrupt change of genre from comedy to drama as opposed to a sustained balance of both. I also noticed there were a few too many close-up shots of Bellinda Effa’s backside; still don’t know the relevance in the production. I would give the production a slightly above average mark.
Costumes and Setting: The costumes were quite spot on and not overdone, and so was the setting. You have to admire Desmond Elliot’s commitment to his character IK’s style cause even though he appeared in just one scene, he stayed in character right up to the movie premier. However I made two observations; even though the work place of the leading lady was never mentioned I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a night club because in my opinion that is the only place where some of her work shoes would be appropriate. I also found the setting of the houses in the city to be a little ostentatious considering they were young people who were cash strapped … but that can be argued.
Value: The movie should be commended for taking on the important issue of outrageous cultural expectations that may burden members of its community and the importance of modifying tradition to be practical in contemporary society. Apart from this prominent message, the movie addresses issues of sexual harassment in the work place, not only from the point of view of a woman, but refreshingly from that of a man too. The touching scene between Mary (Uche Jumbo) and Onyinye (Bellinda Effah) briefly but not less important symbolizes the double standard nature of our society where people form opinions about what is morally right or wrong as it suits their circumstance.
In conclusion the movie is a good watch. I remember that in an interview Desmond Elliot promised audiences a refund if they didn’t find the movie absolutely hilarious; I bought the DVD N800, he owes me N300. Get your copy now!