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|Index||11 reviews in total|
Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having
trouble conceiving a child - a problem that defies cultural
expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could
either save or destroy her family.
I saw this movie last night and it still resonates powerfully with me a day later. The story of a Nigerian immigrant newlywed couple and their travails in getting pregnant, there are five things that set that distinguish this film and make it so worth watching: - The lead performances are exceptional. The Cesar winning actor Issach De Bankolé is always good and his wife, played by American-Zimbabwean Danai Gurira, is pitch perfect as a tradition-bound young woman struggling to balance custom and familial obligation with a new country/culture and her own budding ambitions.
- The pacing of the film is mannered and deliberative, giving the audience a chance to take in the consuming nature of the couple's struggle to have a baby. More European than Hollywood in its timing, the pacing works especially as an antidote to the rapid paced Nollywood films covering similar ground.
- The use of color in the film, both through cinematography and wardrobe, is both stunning and meaningful. The colors correspond to the Orishas or Youban Gods that slyly provide a subtext and foreshadowing of plot that may be unfamiliar to American audiences, but clever and refreshing to any who have been exposed to the Afro-Caribbean religions for which they are central. Just as Orisha symbols has long been integrated into Catholicism and mainstream culture in places like the Dominican Republic and Cuba (for example, it's the bases of the colorful costumes used by showcases at Havana's Tropicana -- the archetype and bases for Las Vegas), they are hidden in plain sight in this film. It's a wonderful added dimension to the film.
- The characters are beautifully realized. The husband's mother, brother, and brother's girl friend are all complicit in the wife's struggles to have a child and each have their own complex character strengths and flaws. While the dialogue is a bit fallow in places, the characters themselves are not.
- The sexuality of the film was portrayed in capturing a range of emotions -- from martial obligation, to lust and true love. Rarely do we get to see such a range in a film, and rarer still is it captured in a movie by and about Black characters.
Definitely worth seeing.
"Mother of George" is a film with a strong and interesting
cross-cultural message. It's also a film that would probably be seen as
a feminist movie--though it is something that can be enjoyed, or at
least appreciated, by all.
The film begins with a wedding--and what a beautiful wedding it is. The guests are all Nigerian Americans and they are dressed in their finest and most color clothing. During the course of the wedding (which takes up a significant part of the film), the new wife, Nike (Danai Gurira) is told again and again how important it is that she have a baby boy as soon as possible. Culturally, there is a HUGE amount of pressure on her--and it's pretty obvious at this point that Nike will have difficulty conceiving. This is made so much worse by her mother-in-law--a very traditional African mother who insists that Nike either become pregnant or her son find another wife! While Ayo (Isaach De Bankolé) is not about to get another wife, he also is bound by masculine expectations and he forbids his wife to get infertility testing and he adamantly refuses to have himself tested. What is poor Nike to do? Well, when she listens to her mother-in-law's plan, it throws her for a loop.
This film has a lot to say. Yet, interestingly, it DIDN'T have a lot of dialog and managed to say a lot without words. Its theme of women as baby machines and their devaluation by societies is hard-hitting and sad. Equally sad is its way that men are trapped by their machismo. There's a lot to this film--and one that, in some ways, cuts across all cultures. Well worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rarely want to write reviews about films, but after having seen 'Mother of George' yesterday, I feel compelled to do so. The acting in this movie was superb. I spent years with Nigerian folks, and the way the characters made certain sounds, hard to describe, but Uh- Uh, the way Nigerians do, or sucking in at the teeth, another sound, perhaps unknowingly, I've hear Nigerians, especially Yoruba, make over and over. The accents were also very well done. The film is heavy with close-ups, which are appropriate to convey the emotion of the characters....the burden of the newlywed wife, the claustrophobic working conditions of the husband and his brother, and the stern nature of the husband's mother. This is not a 'Hollywood' movie. The pace may seem slow to many. However, if you want to see an excellently acted film with wonderful cinematography, I highly recommend this movie.
Ayodele and Adonike (Isaach de Bankole and Danai Gurira) are a happy
newlywed Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn. However, fractures start
to appear in their marriage when Ayodele's overbearing mother grows
restless waiting for them to conceive (something they've been
unsuccessfully trying to do) and starts to insist that the marriage be
dissolved and Ayodele take another wife.
This simple but powerful drama is driven by strong sensory impressions happening around the story rather than the story itself. With its rich and vibrant color scheme, Mother of George is one of the most beautifully-shot films I've ever seen. In aesthetic beauty, full use of every inch of a widescreen frame, color, and texture, this film's cinematography is rivaled by a couple of Wong Kar-Wai's films shot by Christopher Doyle...perhaps.
The music is no less effective, a blend of traditional Nigerian music, avant-garde score, and symphonic classical music.
Everything about the way this film was made in terms of aesthetics and blocking is essentially perfect. So perhaps it's a little disappointing that the script and story, while a good enough one about the tragedy of traditions, could have gone a little further? It could have matched the richness of the film's compositions, the complexity of the fabrics of the gorgeous clothing the characters wear. As it is, it's a fairly simple traditional morality fable. With only five speaking roles given any importance, it has the feel of a baroque chamber drama.
Mother of George begins with a traditional African wedding ceremony which takes place in New York City. The bride and groom are toasted with wishes for a baby boy in the near future which will be named George, in accordance with the groom's mother's wishes. After a prolonged period, the hopeful mother to be does not conceive and she attempts various methods to become pregnant. After more time passes, she visits a fertility specialist, but her husband refuses to be checked out by American doctors. Her mother in law tells her that she should allow her husband a mistress in order to have a child. This idea does not go well, nor the next one of having his brother try to father a baby with her. The movie moves slowly, and while the acting is solid throughout, and the clothing beautiful, I was bored by the time it finished.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An intimate study of motherhood, and fatherhood, within an alternative
culture transplanted from Africa to America. As everywhere, cultural
pressures lead to choices that have consequences far beyond hopes.
To be a mother is the most important duty of a wife; so she is told. When Danai cannot fulfill her duty, she seeks solutions both within her heritage and from Western medicine. When she finally succeeds, the choices she has made threaten to destroy her.
This film is exquisitely photographed and remarkably well acted, especially by Adenike Balogun in the role of Danai, trying her best to do when she believes is right for the husband she loves.
Rhythm is often defined by locales - while mountain people seem to be rather slow by nature, those born close to sea shores appear to be faster in their movements. So I wouldn't call this film "slow", but idiosyncratically paced, admitting that I might be wrong: maybe Nigerians are faster than what I believe, judging from this film. Then it would be a decision taken by director Andrew Dosunmu, making dialogs and reactions calm to the extreme. I could take this, but what really distanced me was composition within the frame: too often actions are seen in close-ups, even in moments when large crowds are gathered. Maybe we have been conditioned so much by traditional cinema that we expect to see a reaction from a listener when told something that might shock him or her... as the moment when the pregnant Adenike confronts her brother-in-law in his apartment. But once this is accepted and dealt with, one can enjoy this strong drama of choices, tradition and deeply-rooted beliefs, beyond any moral judgment of what is right or wrong. In spite of the endless list of producers and executive producers who capitalize on the work of the creative team, the most remarkable features in "Mother of George" are (besides the performances by Danai Gurira and Yaya DaCosta, as Nike and Sade, the two young women subjected to matriarchy rule and dumb males) the cinematography by Bradford Young and Mobolaji Dawodu's beautiful traditional costumes. The brightness and colors brought by the use of natural and artificial light and the garments, create an atmosphere of hopefulness and joy in the midst of so much sadness and obsession with parenthood. See it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot is based on a Nigerian culture. Ayodele and Adenike gets married, and on the night of the wedding Ma Ayo shows Adenike a fertility bead and tells her to put round her waist.She drinks the herbal tea bu still to no avail.she is being disturbed my Ma Ayo.Adenike knows that if she does not give birth her husband's family will take in another wife for her husband,even if he doesn't want to.Sade, her friend tells her about adoption but she wants to give birth her self.She finally found a doctor that will help but Ayodele says he can't afford it. Ma Ayo told her to seek help from her brother-in-law,Biyi.She finally gets pregnant but Ayodele walks out of marriage.
when i watched this film, some thoughts just came up in my head. i
couldn't stop wondering one thing: do we all have to carry all the bags
and burdens of where we came from, who we were, what kind of costumes
we wore, what racial profile we used to belong to, once we decided to
migrate to a country that absolutely got nothing to do with your
originated country where you came from. if you moved from Africa, from
India, from Muslim countries, from the oriental nations, china,
Vietnam, Korea, Japan...wherever and whatever, once you've decided to
move away where you grew up, did you still want to hold unto those
things that you really wanted to leave behind in the first place? or
does it suddenly became so god-damed important that you suddenly
realized that your so-called root was the most important thing you
wanted to hold on and tried to get back? is this the reason why, the
Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal, always wave their Mexican flags
during any occasion, soccer games, boxing bouts, Mexican festivals;
Muslim men keep their beards so dark and so long, Muslim women cover
and wrap their heads with black or other solid color scarfs; Indian and
Pakistani women, especially those older ones, wearing shawl and
drapes/towels-like clothes, some even with red dot between their
eyebrows walking in shopping malls and the streets; sikh males with
weird turbans scrolled on top of their heads; weird and ancient Yiddish
caps, beads, beards, hats; stubborn Amish traditions and customs; green
related to Irish background and traditions other than environmental
friendly? do we all have to use such independent and unique ways to
show other races that we treasure our race, our origin, our nation(even
we so desperately to get out of it sooner than later than never),
culture, traditions and customs. do we have to wear ethical costumes to
tell other people of different races that we are different from you
all, that we, of course one of the ingredients in the huge melt pot,
but we refuse to lose our uniqueness and specialty and give up all and
just willingly to dissolve ourselves, to disappear our identities and
mingle into a complete new flavor that none other countries would have
such marination? and this film, only showed us that nobody wanted to
give up their shxt and embrace their newly adopted country. by telling
us that marriage to Nigerian people only means offspring, if the
marriage sprouts a son, or many sons, are always better than a daughter
and worse more daughters. so to conceive a fetus, a babe, for the
husband, the husband family and the wife's are so overwhelmingly
important, no matter what? under the unique and colorful Nigerian
costumes, the bodies are exactly no different from other human beings
other than the skin color. the songs, the dance, the food of the
wedding are just cosmetic brush up for a legal marriage binding and
legit right to fornication in order to get a son (a daughter usually is
just an unwanted and unlucky outcome). do we have to use so much time,
so much camera footage, close up or fade out to tell a not so unique
torturing and anxious desire. under the traditional costumes you wear,
your body is not a bit different from mine. release your rigid
traditional way of thinking that your parents forced upon you, refuse
to accept the religion they forced upon you to believe, get rid of
those head scarfs, beards, caps, the praying and kneeling 5 times a
day, or attend the sermons on Sundays, keep those flags you blindly
waved or carried around to show your differences, free up your mind,
become a completely free person who don't need the burden past but the
in summary, this indie film about a Nigerian woman and wife trying so hard to conceive a baby is not a worthy subject, even its cinematography is somewhat good. like the good scenes/frames of good pictures? try those desktop background wallpapers.
Many men will do anything to avoid going to the doctor. This film may impel some of them to schedule an appointment, lol! Nigerian immigrants to New York struggle to apply traditional beliefs to a new lifestyle. Some are better at this than others. They discover their hearts to be entwined and hopelessly confused with what they imagined modern and traditional ways to be. Adenike tries to find the path to love with her seemingly traditional husband (or is it really his mother driving him?) Characters and circumstances flit around them like phantoms, good and bad, pulling them in different directions. A mother-in-law presses relentlessly for a grandson, friends encourage Adenike to be more independent even as her husband seeks the opposite, and Adenike's heart tells her many things she cannot long resist, among other burdens. Those at Adenike's wedding who promise that her life will be "sweet as a pineapple" are not there, of course, when life gets tough. Little lovely details, absent in other films, enliven your senses; the bright colors, an open window with street noises drifting through, silence seamlessly switching to music and then gentle voices in a room, contrasting shades of light, the sound of skin on skin, dazzling patterns and shades in clothing, or the outline of an exquisite face. Present here is the beautiful cinematography and sound control characteristic of Kar Wai Wong. The film is worth watching just for this alone.
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