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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Experienced team unable to elevate subpar script

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Release Date: 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

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Director: Desmond Elliot.

Cast: Desmond Elliot, Efa Iwara, Rachel Akowe, Femi Branch, Gloria Anozie

Marriage is one of the major recurring themes across Nollywood films, from “My Wife and I,” which explored a scenario of a body swap between a husband and wife, to a recent release like “To Freedom,” which takes a darker path by depicting emotional and physical abuse in marriages.

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The legal union between a man and a woman is an essential element in Nollywood films, but many also explore other aspects, subtly diluting the focus on the marital institution.

This is why Amazon Prime’s recent release, a film solely focused on marriage, as heavily implied in its title, was quite intriguing.

“What’s the Big Deal About Marriage,” a 2024 film directed by Desmond Elliot, defines its premise as observing the aftermath of a marriage where the couple rushed into it without discussing real issues.

The film is laden with several moral lessons, guiding anyone planning to get married on what not to do before venturing into such lifelong commitments.

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Unfortunately, the moral lessons are not enough to shield it from the mediocre writing that the beautiful sets, the lineup of industry veterans like Femi Branch and Desmond Elliot, and commendable cinematography couldn’t overshadow.

The Plot

Yomi and Julia are childhood frenemies who fail to keep in touch. When their fathers are involved in a minor accident and recognise each other, the frenemies reconnect.

During their first meeting, they get overwhelmed with lust and have sex. This one-night stand leads to a relationship, and they fall “deeply” in love. After one day, Yomi proposes, and Julia agrees.

The film takes us a few months after the proposal, where the couple is now married. Things turn bitter when they realize they are more different than they seem and want different things. This leads to several arguments and eventually pushes them towards abortion and the death of their child.

The Good

The concept behind “What’s the Big Deal About Marriage” is attractive enough to draw viewers as it can be marketed as a family drama. Kudos to the writer and producer for offering a relatively fresh spin on relationships and couples. It’s nice to see a couple battling internal conflicts rather than external forces to preserve their marriage.

Additionally, the film stresses the importance of compatibility in marriage, extending beyond genotypes and religious values to opinions, orientation, and family background. Viewers are educated on the need for deep and meaningful conversations with their partners before saying “I do”.

The cinematography is also worth accolades, with professionally executed quality and lighting. The sets are interior artworks, and the location manager did not miss the mark.

The Bad

The scenes felt rushed, as if everything was moving quickly to set up conflict quickly. It would have been more realistic if Yomi and Julia had maintained their frenetic energy before slowly realizing their sexual attraction to each other.

Unrealism is evident throughout the film, with the couple almost immediately agreeing to get married despite having zero chemistry.

The portrayal of them falling in love with mostly cuddling and kissing scenes felt lacking. Engaging in heartfelt conversations or going on dates would have been a better choice.

The acting was fair but had flaws. There was zero chemistry between Yomi and Julia, possibly due to poor dialogue delivery.

Desmond Elliot’s attempt to westernize his character’s speech failed, and performances, excluding Femi Branch, were forgettable. Additionally, there were obvious fake tears during emotional scenes.

Final Verdict

5/10. “What’s the Big Deal About Marriage” has a promising premise and starts on an exciting note but lacks essential elements to prevent it from becoming a snoozefest, especially in the middle of the film due to dragged-out scenes.

“What’s the Big Deal About Marriage” is now streaming on Prime Video.

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