It was the twentieth century German-American writer, Edith Hamilton that opines; the way a nation goes reflects in their art and drama. What she meant by this is, the foibles, follies, thinking and behavioural pattern of a particular nation at a particular time or cultural movement is wholly reflected in their art or drama. Inadvertently what this means is, if you want to know how the South-Africans, Ghanaians, Americans or Nigerians behave look at their art. Art in this context cuts across Music, Films, Fashion, Poetry, Sculptural Works, etc.
If the above saying is generally accepted then there is no gainsaying that our film as Nigerian’s is a reflection of who we are as a nation. On this backdrop, I believe Blessing Egbe’s new flick, Lekki Wives, is a splendid and blunt portrayal of the wealth madness at all cost syndrome which has become endemic and contagious in us as a nation. In the film or drama series as one might choose to classify it, we see married ladies all out to do anything to move into the Lekki highbrow, maintain the suave and nouveau riche lifestyle, mingle and associate with the timbers and calibers of the society at the detriment of their family.
Presently, the family institution which is supposed to be the bastion of our society is regrettably on a speedy reverse gear heading into the Atlantic ocean, a film mirroring this anathema is not only timely but instructive. If there is one glaring thematic message of this film it is; evil corruption erodes fecundity of the family. In these days of unhealthy competition among friends and families one should be extremely careful with the kind of friend she keeps. Any friend, Group, Club or Clique that keeps rubbing it in that you are not like the Jones is a total no-no. It is obvious via the lens of the film that the Lekki Wives; Cleo, Miranda, Uju, Peace and Lovette, had no business being friends in the first place.
The characterization of the five friends is brilliant from the desperate and go getter character of Lovette who abandoned her middle class husband to join the millionaires club, to Cleo who was married off to a rich Alhaji so her family can kiss bye-bye to poverty. Miranda, a Bi-sexual who abandons her wheel chaired husband in the care of house helps, or is it Peace who cannot draw a line between her religious beliefs and her husband need to my favourite character Uju. Uju is your typical Naija babe who cannot be intimidated by her friends’ status and she is desperate to join the big league though careful to hide that she is not in the big league already.
If you are tired of seeing known faces in Nigerian films then Lekki Wives will b e an interesting watch for you. Save for Adaora Ukoh, other actresses were purely upcoming. And did they deliver? Men, they aced it. Katherine Obiang, Frank Edoho’s ex-wife gave a good account of her character, Uju. Keira Hewatch who was in Two Brides and a Maid also upped her game. While the duo of the sassy and delectable Kiki Omeili and Chinonso Young wrote their name with gold on account of their performance in this flick. The duo are new screen goddesses to watch out for in coming years.
However, there are some few down points like every human art in the season 1. The challenge of balancing characters in ensemble films reared its head. Most times we tend to see more of a particular character at the detriment of another. More so, on a personal note, I believe the characters of Cleo and Miranda do not have deep dramatic goals. For the fact that Cleo has succeeded to smuggle in her boyfriend into her matrimonial home her need becomes immediately satisfied, no other intriguing quest from her part was plotted in save for when this shenanigan act will be discovered.
Having said this, I think it’s noteworthy to say this, Blessing has broken new grounds with this episodic film style and I believe that this is another major plus for the new Nollywood. Most of our beloved TV drama series have not been released in DVD but here is a new series released straight to the viewers without being first aired on terrestrial television stations. I believe it took her a lot of courage to take this step and I presume that soon episodic films like this will follow suit.
Finally, if you are tired of the commedia dell’arte in the name of film from our Asaba filmmakers, then you will be happy watching this thrilling and innovative film from one of the most ambitious and creative filmmaker in Nollywood. If you are looking for a way to unwind the weekend with friends and family then this drama series is definitely your best bet. If you are looking for a film that is instructive and as well entertaining then Lekki Wives is the hook. Leo Tolstoy the novelist said “arts communicate felt experiences not knowledge”. I dare say unequivocally, Lekki Wives has succeeded in communicating real life happenings in our present society.
Written by Tobe Osigwe