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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Movie Review: Despite Flaws, ‘Ambivalent’ Sparks Intrigue

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Title: Ambivalent

Running Time: 2 hours 12 minutes

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Director: Ekene Som Mekwunye

Cast: Gabriel Afolayan, Derby Frankson, Anita O. James, and Mercy Mordom.

Ambivalent movie

What do you do when you do not know what to do?

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This existential question lies at the heart of “Ambivalent,” a captivating film that delves into the complexities of love, loyalty, and marriage.

As many have already opined, Marriage isn’t a bed of roses, but what do you do when you find roses in a bed outside your matrimonial home?

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These are some of the robust premises that this movie attempts to unravel; however, his film ventures into such uncharted territory, yet its commendable efforts fail to leave a lasting mark.

With promising themes and a talented cast, “Ambivalent” initially promises a compelling exploration of modern relationships. However, as the plot unfolds, it becomes apparent that the execution falls short of expectations.

Despite the actors’ best efforts, the movie only scratches the surface of its potential, leaving audiences wanting more.

True to its title, “Ambivalent” leaves viewers uncertain, torn between conflicting emotions and ideas. Whether intentional or not, this ambiguity may be the film’s most enduring legacy as audiences grapple with the unanswered questions it raises.

Plot

The movie narrates the story of Charlotte Wigwe, a beautiful working woman whose husband, Obinna Wiwge, a tech guru, is barely home. She spends most of her time at home anticipating his return, which he often procrastinates because of the nature of his job. To satisfy her sexual needs, she resorts to the use of sex toys.

Although Obinna tries to soothe her by providing for her needs, in the last four years of their marriage, the couple has barely spent three weeks under the same roof without Obinna’s work, truncating their happy moments.

Unfortunately, her work makes her cross paths with her acquaintance from the university, a friend of her then-boyfriend, Ned Willams. Although their friendship started on the foot of a work-based relationship, and one thing led to another, Ned’s crush and admiration fueled Charlotte’s emotional needs, something she had not gotten from her absentee husband for the longest time.

Charlotte soon finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Tired of her marriage, she faces a difficult choice: should she continue with her old friend, who has rekindled the passion of love, or remain in her marriage?

Character Analysis

The movie enjoys a moderate and straightforward cast structure since the narrative is simple and concise.

The cast includes Gabriel Afolayan as Obi, Derby Frankson as Charlotte Ngozi, Anita O. James as Shade, Mercy Mordom as Karen, and Aeries Umusu as Ned.

Despite being new to the acting scene, Derby Frankson delivered a compelling performance as Charlotte. Her portrayal captured the emotional complexity of her character—a neglected wife finding love outside her marriage. Her portrayal resonated with the depth required, showcasing her talent and promise in the industry.

Gabriel Afolayan’s portrayal of Obi was equally impressive. He skillfully depicted the internal conflict of a husband torn between his career and his marriage, delivering an outstanding performance that resonated with audiences. His portrayal reached its pinnacle when his character demonstrated unwavering support and care for his wife during her battle with kidney failure, showcasing the depth of his character’s love and commitment.

Anita O. James brought warmth and authenticity to the role of Shade, Charlotte’s trusted friend and coworker. As the quintessential confidante, Shade was portrayed as deeply attuned to Charlotte’s life, offering support and guidance whenever needed. Anita’s portrayal captured the essence of a loyal and caring friend.

Aeries Umusu’s portrayal of Ned Williams injected an intriguing layer of complexity into the movie, enriching the narrative with depth and tension. As a charismatic lover entangled in a forbidden affair, Ned’s character grappled with conflicting emotions, fully aware of the inevitable consequences yet unable to let go. His selfless act of donating a kidney to Charlotte underscored the depth of his feelings, while his clandestine plans to elope with her added an element of suspense and intrigue to the story.

Movie Analysis

The movie “Ambivalent” sets the stage for a compelling narrative about a woman caught between her commitment to her husband and the temptation of a renewed romance.

However, despite this intriguing premise, the film must catch up in its execution, failing to capitalize on its potential.

While the premise holds promise for a gripping premise, it must maintain coherence and clarity throughout its runtime.

Furthermore, the film’s pacing could be more balanced. Abrupt transitions between scenes disrupt the flow of the story. Instead, moments intended to evoke tension or introspection feel contrived and predictable, diminishing the impact of pivotal plot points.

Despite the best efforts of the cast, including notable performances by the casts, the film’s gloomy direction and uneven screenplay hinder their ability to shine. Moments that should evoke shock or intrigue instead elicit confusion and frustration as the movie struggles to find its footing amidst a sea of ambiguity.

The movie had a lot going on, with exciting subplots like the kidney crisis adding intrigue but leaving us wanting more. While it’s good to focus on the main storyline, the health crisis subplot could have been explored further for added depth.

The director tried to give us insight into the characters’ lives, such as when Obi suggested visiting his parents, but Charlotte refused due to his mother’s pressure to have children. However, some details, like the mysterious phone call from Obi’s supposed mother, felt underdeveloped and needed more impact.

Despite emphasizing dialogue, some conversations lacked weight, failing to convey the intended message effectively. While the movie had potential, it needed to capitalize on its various plot points and character dynamics fully.

However, despite its shortcomings, “Ambivalent” still offers moments of intrigue and introspection. Through exploring themes such as love, loyalty, and self-discovery, the film invites viewers to reflect on the complexities of human relationships and our choices in pursuing happiness.

Verdict: 6/10

AMBIVALENT Trailer 2024 (youtube.com)

The movie is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Videos.

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