Most people see Nigerian Christain movies as dreary, unrealistic, stories you can’t relate to, usually acted and produced with ineptitude, however most recent Mount Zion Faith Int’l movies amongst some others stand to debunk this fib.
Here’s the review of a movie that’s quality by all standards and yet laden with deep spiritual messages from the stables of Mount Zion Int’l, written by DAMILOLA Mike-Bamiloye.
The protagonist, Mr Babalola (Broda Martins) is a dedicated manager of his workplace at Cotonou, giving in his all into the job, however his family back in Nigeria is at the receiving end. He only goes home to spend the weekend twice a year.
He wants to go home to spend the weekend, and he needs someone to fill in for him. He instructs one of his subordinates, (Owojori Olukayode) to spend the weekend in the office, the man however calls his request bluff. He says hitherto he had majored on the minor and minored on the major, that his family needs him more than the office did. Mr Babalola trys to dissuade him by sharing his own experience, but he stands his ground and consequently walks out on his job.
Mr. Babalola calls his wife (Akpeji Bola) to inform her he would be coming home, he however observes that she isn’t excited. He doesn’t know that he had been sleeping while fire was claiming his roof.
He gets home to discover that Esther, his dear princess, only child and daughter (Aanu Kolade) is six months pregnant! He flys off the handle, pouring all the blame on his wife, after a bout of arguement, he walks out and of course he does that with his habitual sentence on his lips- “I’m out of this place!”
Esther, who isn’t an adult yet, falls easily for the deceit of a young guy, George- who dissapears into thin air immediately she becomes pregnant- because she’s starved of a father’s love.
She is badly hurt and depressed. She sits on the floor in her room wailing, and having a psychotic monologue with the photo of her ex-lover and father of the foetus growing in her, in her hands.
She scatters her room, tousles her hair and burnt the photo in her hands screaming things like;
“You said you loved me, but you used me and you dumped me! You said you loved me!! I’m going to get you and I’m going to destroy you! You said you loved me!”
Mr. Babalola is bent on fishing out the irresponsible man, responsible for his daughter’s pregnancy, with the help of his police friend, who was a member of the local assembly he led before he left for Cotonou, Officer Lawani (Wole Olaleye).
Officer Lawani, is a cool blend of humor and sarcasm. He shows us the flexibility of the law in a corrupt nation, how a thing could be seen as unlawful and the next minute it becomes lawful, depending on factors.
He is all against the man responsible for Esther’s pregnancy, promising to keep him behind bars, saying criminals like him shouldn’t walk the streets free and of course, he’s saying all these while munching in the usual local restaurant, Mr. Babalola foots the bill without taking the change anyway; all that ideology fades the moment he discovers the ‘criminal’ was George Banwo, (John Oguntuase) his brother.
Fraustrated, Mr. Babalola decides to share his ordeals with his pastor, who in turn gives him heartfelt, scriptural truths and counsels.
He makes up his mind to rise as a servant-leader, to stoop, like Jesus did, and wash his daughter’s feet.
Esther on the other hand is plagued with guilt and the shame she’d brought the family, she has to watch her parents quarrel incessantly because of her fault. She couldn’t stand it any more, She decides to leave!
She leaves with a note, but somehow she comes back.
Now, that’s the first problem I have with this movie. Is it that she left and returned? Or she was waiting to see her parents reaction in the toilet, or she had not yet gone? I don’t know, we just saw her silhouette at the doorjamb.
When she comes back, she sees that her note is replaced with another from her parents;
‘My Dear Esther, God gave you to us, the devil cannot take you away from us.
We love you.
Dad and Mum’
Her erstwhile disorganized room is cleaned and upside up. With the realization of the deep love her parents have for her comes wrenching sobs and healing to her soul.
Just when things starts falling into place and the Lord is restoring their home a call comes from Mr. Babalola’s office, his attention is needed urgently.
Neither Esther nor her Mum is happy with his leaving, even he isn’t happy about it, but is he left with a choice? A man has to do what a man has to do!
On his way to the airport, images of the past- when his home was still idyllic and lovely, before his job snatched him from the warmth of his it, leaving his wife and daughter to face the adversity all alone- flashes before the eyes of his mind, causing tears to spill.
He orders the driver to turn around.
He returns home to the surprise of his wife and daughter, they ask if he forgot something and he says he’s got a new job as the managing director of his home. His heavily pregnant daughter and wife rejoiced. That’s the centrepiece of the movie.
The primary job of every husband and father is to be the titular manager of their homes, every other thing is secondary. They’ll give account to God, like a manger to his boss.
Mr. Babalola stands as the manager of his home in the place of prayer while Esther is travailing in the labour room.
The manager is a good movie every one should see, it had it’s high points that would make you bray with laughter, like when Officer Lawani is ‘advertising’ George as a husband material to Mr. Babalola, or where George goes to meet Esther to sing her the song she used to love, it also had the points for sober reflections- points were you go ‘Aww..’
The movie centres on a major challenge of many christian homes- unavailability of parents, when their home needs them most.
One of the many allures of this movie is the soundtracks used, every single one (all by Joshua Mike-Bamiloye) fitted in perfectly.
There’s a similarity between the last scene of this movie and that of the ignition Esther gives George her hand, wishing him a good life and bidding him farewell just like Ngozi does to Shola in the ignition. Not quite surprising since both movies have a common scriptwriter. Maybe that’s the DAMILOLA Mike-Bamiloye signature on his movies. Lol. Pun intended.
I hope this review has piqued your interest cause the cliche says ‘the taste of the pudding is in the eating’. If you haven’t seen this movie, endeavor to.