MOVIE REVIEW: ISOKEN – by Chinwe Ononuju
MOVIE TITLE: ISOKEN
WRITER: JADESOLA OSIBERU
DIRECTOR: JADESOLA OSIBERU
YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 2017
TIME: 1HR 40MINS
The movie, Isoken, jointly produced by Bose Oshin and Jadesola Osiberu, focuses on the societal pressure unmarried Nigerian women face despite their educational achievements or career successes.Starring Dakore Akande as the titular character, the movie centres on the 34-year-old single and successful Isoken, who has not only achieved academic accomplishment but has reached an enviable status in her career in advertising.
These achievements would make anyone who knows her proud of Isoken – anyone but her family, especially her mother, Mama Isoken (played by Tina Mba), who constantly reminds her that a woman’s greatest establishment is marriage. Given Isoken’s apparent lack of concern over her single status in the face of pressure and the marriages of her younger sisters, speculations arise over her sexuality and the possibility of her suffering spiritual problems. Isoken cannot find solace in the company of her similarly afflicted friends, Agnes (Funke Akindele) and Kukua (Lydia Forson) either, as all their conversations revolve around their determination to get hitched.There are of course the leading men: Osaze (Joseph Benjamin), who is the quintessential husband material, complete with his successful business, nice apartment and similar kinship; and Kevin (Marc Rhys), who is English, goofy and adventurous.
On paper, Isoken and Osaze are a good match, whereas Kevin’s oyinbo-ness stands as one of the many reasons why he is not suited for Isoken. Isoken is a refreshing narrative which explores racial stereotyping, cultural expectations and demands placed on individuals in a society, and the roles families play in the lives of their members. Also featuring Patrick Doyle, Ngozi Nwosu, Damilola Adegbite and Tina Edwards, the movie produces a cast that does a good job of delivering good performances and an adequate interpretation of their roles. Although there are misses with Funke Akindele being often too enthusiastic in her delivery, as though she feels she has to put out too much to prove what a good actress she is. She only ends up overplaying her role. Dakore could have also translated her role better like she’s been known to do. She plays a 34-year-old single woman but often comes off as a 40-year-old single mother.Some of the scenes went on for too long and were too drawn out. In a few others, like when the water of Isoken’s sister broke, it played out like a rehearsal before the camera started rolling.
The wardrobe was, however, appropriate, but the lighting was often poor, making it hard to sometimes read the expressions of the actors. There was no problem with movie’s continuity.The movie, all in all, offers a strong message of love in unexpected places and endurance under pressure. At a rating of 7/10, it comes highly recommended for every Nigerian.
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