Progress is a wonderful thing to behold and the African film industry seems persistent in its pursuit of development. It is truly a joy to behold the small but significant group of producers, writers, directors and actors eager to reform the industry’s reputation from its endless outputs of hurriedly shot, poorlyedited and terribly acted films.
While “Love Or Something Like That” is not likely to retain any kind of cult status, it does a fairly good job of treating its romantically themed source material. We have the newlyweds Kwaale and Walker bask in the happiness of upper middle class success and fresh marital bliss. Kwale, a beautiful conventional “nice girl” wants to turn things up in the bedroom by ditching condoms in favour of the pill, something she discusses with her worldly, feisty, extremely quotable best friend and sidekick who approves and encourages Kwaale to go raw with her husband.
The movie twists are smartly managed by the creative forces behind it. In lieu of a crazy ex-lover or dysfunctional family, we have some extremely relevant and thematic subjects covered. However, it really cannot be a romantic movie without somebody competing for our heroine’s pretty, sad heart. Nigeria’s own O. C Ukeje, makes some memorable turn as her pale, yellow eyed (literally), creatively sentimental, dying lover who is somewhat sweetly and tragically the catalyst for happiness in her failing marriage.
There is a flashback scene that shows us the events leading to the moment our female lead contracts the HIV virus. It carries more importance than we are led to believe. Perhaps it was the intention of the director not to linger and over dramatize it as movies are prone to. Perhaps she expects the viewers to come to their conclusions on how much importance it carries but it makes its point and moves on. Many parts of the movie develop in the same vein with a few occasional gratuitous moments of heighted emotion or anxiety. For a movie dealing with such serious themes, it would have benefitted greatly in delivering its powerful message across if it had stuck to keeping the opera like intensity of it reserved only for the too few scenes.
“Love Or Something Like That” is amusing to watch. The plot devolves respectably but often it feels like our newlyweds have been given too many problems for a marriage that is so early. The coincidences tended to be hurriedly muted and resolved it runs a little too long mostly because the conflicts are so convoluted and the themes a little to many for a film selling itself as a love story. Perhaps a few less emotional entanglements and Kwaale and Walker’s characters could save some of the tension and drama for much later on into the marriage.
The bulk of the film’s high notes lie with the cast and their chemistry. Joselyn Dumas is divine in her distress. She will go far in her career, and John Dumelo matches up equally. Together they are the poster kids for newlywed troubles. O. C continues to remind audiences why he is a screen favourite.
The supporting characters round up the impeccable casting very nicely and offer a much welcome distraction from the tears and gut twisting issues our leads face. Nana Mensah is a ravishing scene stealer with her character’s a no-apologies charistma. Her portrayal of what we society perceives a single independent woman to be is tongue in cheek funny. Christabel Ekeh is convincing in her dogged pursuit of Walker and our lead couples manage somehow to be able to hold on to the aura of innocence and good intentions despite the many mistakes they make in the treatment of their issues.
From Sodas&Popcorn HQ, Love Or Something Like That earns a Popcorn And Soda
Review is written by Fareeda. Connect with her on Twitter here.
Images courtesy of Sparrow Station