What Did This movie get Right?

Infact, have you seen this movie sef? 😕

Can you form an opinion about a movie after just seeing it once? Well yes. Even if you were distracted or didn’t see it all the way through, you can have an opinion about the part of the film you were able to watch. Ideally if it were a film with screeners I’d probably watch it more than once, for multiple reasons, an edit or cut I like, a CGI effect I want to watch over and over until I can make out the individual elements and start thinking of replicating it or how it doesn’t hold up to inspection over multiple views. But then again I’m Pixelmorph, it’s my line of work, and as much as I try to be entertained by movies there will always be a part of me, learning, searching, questioning, seeking to understand.

This in no way constitutes a review of the movie It’s Her Day. Because if it were, the verdict wouldn’t be up there instantly, this movie is not just good it’s a great piece of Nigerian filmmaking. What we’re here to talk about is why I believe that statement
If at any point this feels like a TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) issue. Then here’s the summary; good script, good casting, good acting, good directing.

These words are bandied about too flippantly to have any meaning that we should look at it all over again.

So what’s a good script, I would say overall it’s an enjoyable story, but this would be too simplistic as it doesn’t give exposition to things of note like form structure and whatnot, however for the purpose of discussing this movie, that explanation would suffice. A story such as Bovi’s It’s Her Day is a contemporary story with characters grounded in reality. People who exist in our reality or would act like we see the characters do. When writing contemporary stories creating characters that ring true with audiences are as easy as they are hard (I’ll try to explain some other time) as opposed to creating fictional lands scenarios where the governing rules are at the mercy of the writer to manipulate as [s]he sees fit. It’s Her Day was a totally relatable story, and the lead character, beyond his present predicament, mirrored a lot of people, or people who we might know, who happen to feel that having gone the wrong way for far too long, would do well to continue grossing that path rather than retracing their steps.

Another integral part of writing is dialogue. If as a scriptwriter you want to choose what to suck at, choose to suck at ANYTHING but dialogue. Nothing worse than being unable to convey certain nuances about a particular situation or character by the choice of words employed during dialogue. That is another thing which this movie excels in. But then it’s no surprise, Bovi’s has a history in writing TV sitcoms and his mastery shows here.

Having gotten a good, date I say great enough script, what next? I particularly liked that the actors in this film could hold their own. But then again, same can be said of a lot of actors in Nollywood. So what makes the casting better in my opinion? It’s simply the fact that these characters were chosen because only a few lines into their dialogue or on screen appearance you’re sold on them, a popular director once said directing is about 90% casting. While I think that’s a lot to give to casting alone. Casting is important, more often than not you’re actually looking for people who express themselves in a manner that parallels the character in your script. From Shaffy Bello to Ini-Dinma Okojie to Toni Tones you almost feel like it didn’t take a lot of imagination to get them into those roles.

A film that is not big on technicals or special effects should make the editor have  one thing on his/her mind; and that is to make sure the edit is not noticed, that the edit rolls smoothly with the story and this goes beyond avoiding jump cuts and what not. Infact a jump cut is employed perfectly here when we see Bovi’s character snap and lash out at his prospective mother-in-law and then cuts back to Bovi’s frozen face, letting us know how he was contemplating and salivating at the prospect of lashing out in that instant to his in-laws to be.

You’ll hear reviews say they expected more, well wasn’t it said that you “leave them wanting more?” You’d also hear people express opinions like it should have ended this way or that way or such and such shouldn’t have happened, or how the story doesn’t discuss certain issues in depth, like for instance the depth of Bovi’s (Victor’s) pockets with all the expenses he was making – I wouldn’t mind an excel spreadsheet to that effect too, but the story isn’t about that. Infact a story is never the whole telling, it’s simply the telling of events from one or more perspectives as they concern a certain issue. When the story moves beyond accommodating a central issue and delves into various other themes with equal dedication it becomes bloated and the audience loses interest because they don’t know what about the story they should follow or give eminence to.

If this was a review, I’d be looking for where to pick holes and while there’s someone who has taken on the thankless job of offering a more objective review of this film, I’d like to state that I immediately switched my analytical observer mindset (not sure I have one though) and stared at the screen, popcorn and soda in hand and was entertained as a fan because right off the bat it did not attempt to put me off with one overly Nigerian filmmaking faux pas(topic for another day which, yup, I will never write because it’s the kind of article that’ll bite you in the rear when you least expect). This is a refreshingly good movie that shows the possibilities in Nigerian cinema and a checklist of what I, and other players in the industry should keep in mind when creating movies. A great film will have rapturous applause at a film festival screening but Nollywood is not, has never been an elitist market and we must remember to subject our stories and processes to a crucible that tests our content for the Nigerian market and enables us better make great, commercially viable films.
Contrary opinions are welcome, so let’s talk.
P.S can we do something about hype and marketing? This film was critically under seen at the cinemas


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