Being Mrs Elliot: Product placements, plausibility and ‘New Nollywood’ movies.

Can somebody help me shout Halleluyah! I finally watched a wholly Nigerian movie in the Cinema. I had been previously tricked into watching them Ghanaian imports thinking they were Nigerian films but no more! I couldn’t cinema binge and end up not watching at least one Naija film, could I?

Anyhoo, sometime in August, news reached us that Omoni Oboli’s directorial debut #BeingMrsElliot was screened at the Presidential Villa for Nigeria’s No.1 citizen and other dignitaries.

It was a good stunt in my opinion as I was suddenly very interested; was there anything special about the film to warrant such special treatment or was it another man know man situation that got the movie into the Villa. After watching the film, my answer is tilting towards the latter but does that matter? No.

Being-Mrs-Elliot movie posterThe question I have been barraged with by movie lovers is….. Do I want to spend my time and money watching this particular one or should I respect myself and stay clear.

Well I hope by the time I’m done writing, you can make that decision on your own.

First, Omoni dear, commendable effort on your first try. However, please let’s tone down the product placements a bit next time. It was almost like a radio show the way the scenes and the script were helping to pay the bills; in fact at a point, the scenes were turning into mini TV ads. The only other movie I’ve seen with this much annoying product placement is the last Jenifa film which was entirely one big Glo advert.

It’s not like product placements are a bad thing; they have sure been appearing in films for decades and are an amazing way to fund a film project. The problem however is when they begin to distract your audience from the movie. I mean I heard about a certain financial institution at least three times, saw the logo of a certain cosmetics house at least twice, learnt how to make a cocktail because a certain drink would be in it and got flashed an ATM card to kill to ads with one stone. Not fair ma’am, if I wanted to watch adverts I would have sat at home to watch CNN.

Moving ahead, on a scale of 1-10, I would give #BeingMrsElliot a fair 5 on plausibility. Even though there are a couple of brow raising scenes, one is still able to let them fly and enjoy the film. What I would have really enjoyed was if the movie had not been so one sided. I mean it was supposed to be a tale of the intersecting lives of two women right? Well it seemed more like the life of one woman and how the other bumped into it.

The development of the story didn’t pay much attention to Uru Eke’s character. Was she an orphan? Did no one look for her? I mean, would it have been too much for us to know a bit more about her boyfriend before he gets offed? These are elements that could make a good effort seem semi-lazy.

It’s not enough to just make a film, you have to make it an experience not so easily discarded by your audience. Let them look forward to your next project. Allow them genuinely say well done!

HBThis is something just a few of the ‘New Nollywood’ movies have achieved. Yes they have better productions and are more visually appealing (at least a good number are)…. But there is still ample room for improvement. For a first effort, Omoni has shown that she is capable, now I look forward to her making a movie I can place in my list of favourite Nigerian movies.


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