Now and then we get supposedly high concept nollywood movies having long-winded plots with details that mix like oil and water but are somehow intertwined to make a whole story. Here Love Lies is a peculiar hybrid, a mix of a family drama graduated into a rom-com then warped into a Get Out style horror thriller, with most of the action taking place across Nigeria and the USA.
Amanda (Tope Oshin) is a pastor’s daughter and she commits the biggest sin that a clergyman’s daughter could be feared to commit, she gets pregnant. In a bid to not have her misconduct tarnish his reputation, her father (Sam Dede) proposes abortion, which Amanda refuses vehemently. “It’s not good,” she says. Her father becomes agitated at her indignation and has a cardiac arrest. On his sick bed, he disowns her and curses her for her decision to keep the baby, “this child will forever cause you pain and suffering as you have done to me.” Fast forward to 14 years later, Amanda is now looking to settle down and after kissing a few frogs (Nigerian men), who all end their pursuit immediately they learn that she has a kid, she meets Michael (Tim Shelburne), a New Yorker who has been following her travel blog religiously. They start to chat and connect instantly. She decides to surprise him on a work trip to New York, and they continue their romance physically but Michael has a horrible secret and Amanda is soon to find out.
Here Love Lies starts off in an interesting manner, setting up a psychological family drama that explores the trauma of severed family bond, which only lasts for as long as the intro. It pops up from time to time during the film in a less relevant way that makes it look like an uncomfortable part of the script. After that, we are given a rushed exposition of Amanda’s romantic life, her relationship with her daughter and her estranged family before the plunge into the actual relevant part of the script, the New York City horror thriller.
The plot of Here Love Lies is an adventurous one no doubt, but it looks too much of a copy, in fact, at some points, one might be forgiven for mistaking it for a Tyler Perry romantic drama, but then it goes on to mimic Get Out in most of the latter part of it. This film could have been more engaging if several unnecessary details were removed. Such details only served to complicate the plot by creating inadequately resolved narratives, like her reconciliation with her family. While it looked good, it wasn’t necessitated by the progression of the story and looked like it was done just for the aesthetics. It could have been a better film if it started from the first restaurant scene and ended with her ordeal with Michael, as the issue with her family is relegated to being inconsequential to the rest of the plot, making it seem like we are watching two different films.
Being a part of a film production in any position is an arduous task that requires you to give your all. So it’s never a good idea to take on more than one serious role in a film production to reduce the possibility of not giving your best to the production which is what seems to have happened to Tope Oshin in this. She features in Here Love Lies as a writer, executive producer, director and main character. This multitasking affects her acting performance as it is sometimes mechanical and distracted; making her co-actors look out of sync in some instances. It’s hard to tell whether the under-par performance by the American actors is a result of not having a director that understands the nuances of American culture and acting or if they were just plain non-professional (barring Tim Shelburne who made some effort).
In Here Love Lies, the script fails to address more pertinent issues raised by the plot, like what happened to Amanda after she was disowned: how did she come to terms with such an abrupt separation from her family… and for a movie over two hours long, Here Love Lies loses steam for too long of stretches. The thrill is only felt in the beginning and the latter part of it, making most of it a boring wishy-washy romantic drama, despite it having a strong premise to build the plot.
Here Love Lies is streaming on Netflix.
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- Looks like a mistitling.
- Why is Amanda holding all her family responsible for the decision of her father and why is the character never accountable throughout the film?
- If he was not expecting her, how did he manage to plan everything?
- Imagine trying to make an American film all the way from Nigeria.
- Men are scum.