Written by John Jeremiah
The Therapist is a new thriller movie by Kayode Kasum.
The 2-hour long movie follows Eloho Odafe (Rita Dominic) after she exits a violent childless marriage of 12 years. After she divorces her husband, Febian Ojukwu (Anthony Monjaro), she loses her right to any of his properties due to a prenuptial agreement she signed. The divorce has her ex-husband giving her all the possible bad treatments he could, ranging from throwing her out, to blocking her ATM cards (which are registered under his name). Eloho eventually moves in with her lawyer friend, Gari (Michelle Dede), who specializes in women rights, however, Eloho wouldn’t stop blaming herself for what she went through in the marriage.
The day Eloho discovered the cards were no longer working was an eventful one for her as the POS kept declining her cards, until she was eventually saved by Mrs Priye (Toyin Abraham). Mrs Priye is a full house wife that was booted out of her business by her husband, Mr Priye (Saheed Balogun) and was now at the end of depending on her husband for money made from her business. Mrs Priye, though aware that her husband cheats on her, has accepted it as her lot. Eloho and Mrs Priye meet again in a traffic jam while Mrs Priye is having a bad day due to the bad treatment she receives from her husband. Through Gari, Mrs Priye is able to set her husband up and file for divorce on the grounds of extramarital affairs. They win the case and along with it, 90% of the company shares and the seat of the CEO of the company.
Mrs Priye suggests that the team commercialize their services and “make money”. She subsequently sends women who have been allegedly in violent marriages their way and the rest is history. Word of mouth is one of the best publicity for a start-up. Business keeps booming until they meet Mrs Bankole (Shaffy Bello), who wants to divorce her “violent” husband, Rotimi Bankole (Chidi Mokeme).
Everything takes a sloppy turn after the entire team plays into Mrs Bankole’s plan and has to set her husband up despite it not meeting their requirements. This is due to the group’s greed, they are a money loving bunch who had recently faced off with their lawyer over this same issue. I guess once a lover of money, forever a lover of money. The rest of the movie is a maze of twists and turns, all of which churned into one amazing movie.
The acting was really great, everyone gave sizzling and very convincing performances. Dumebi (Anew Cher) gave the most convincing act as her performances covered a whole range of things from wittiness, sluttiness, and cluelessness.. It is amazing the way she keeps coming out of every one of them blazing, in short, she killed her performance. I was hooked to Rita Dominic right from the moment she graced the screen of this movie, like fine wine, her acting ages better. There was this scene where she was acting out with Chidi Mokeme and she was so splendid with it, that I couldn’t tell if she was still proceeding with her mission or that was her. Of course, that performance was cleared out with subsequent scenes. Toyin Abraham as usual was eccentric in her role, her depiction of a housewife who was the brain of a successful business was on point. Rufus, the private investigator (Tope Tedel), was marvelous too. I particularly like the part where a perverse side of him was shown on screen. I think it grounded the role in reality, and if more screen time had been allotted to him, it would have been awesome.
At one point through the movie, I thought I was going to cry if Chidi Mokeme did. As someone who grew up watching him present the Gulder Ultimate Search, a treasure hunt game show that was about testing everything about toughness, resilience and strength. I say this not only because of his job on GUS but also because of other roles he had taken, which were all macho man roles. So he is basically an epitome of strength to me. This is probably coming from the fact that we often don’t get to see men in a vulnerable state. For that reason alone, I give very big kudos to Akay Mason (Elevator Baby) who wrote the script and Kayode Kasum, director of this movie. I hope to see other non-stereotypical adaptations on screen, regarding gender and society. In The Therapist, everyone was natural in the roles allotted to them.
The movie did justice to the questions it posed. Questions like what would happen when blind support is given to an oppressed class? What would happen if they decided to use such for their sinister plans? The movie spurned off from women being the major victims of domestic violence. During the course of the movie we see a number of women who tried to use that narrative to their advantage despite the fact that they were the abusive ones in the relationship. However, the timing of the movie might be wrong given the fact that femicide and other crimes against women are still the order of the day.
- In today’s world, where increased activism for women’s rights is still gaining ground, a section of these women’s rights fighters often resort to giving blind support to women because they are women. Basically, when women make accusations against men, because it has become a normalized behavior for men, these women’s rights fighters ascribe that to all men and in the process throw men under the tire. I believe that when they say “all men” it’s important to direct people’s gaze at the ‘system’ and not at specific men. Men might be the ones meting out these bad behaviors but they are also losing out somewhere. Men commit suicide the most, also because of the roles society has put on them. The sad part is that men don’t see this, and it’s hard to help men if they don’t see what the system is doing to them. When men and women come together to properly understand the system, then a progressive path can be charted out of it for all.
- The fourth wall was broken on two different occasions in this movie. This is different from the normal acting where actors keep looking into a camera as though they have never seen it. At one point where Shaffy Bello breaks the fourth wall, I could feel her eyes casting themselves on me and it was as if she was trying to convince me to go set her husband up. If I was one of the girls, I would have taken the deal, anything but not Mrs Balogun looking at me.
- After seeing the movie, as I stepped out of the cinema to receive fresh breeze carried by spirits of the night, I thought to myself, “we are in for exciting times in Nollywood”.
Our Nollywood Model Checklist tally
- An aerial shot of a road in Lagos: ✔️
- Instagram/Internet superstars (that cannot act):
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- Crass comedy:
- A handful of standout actors:
- A sprinkle of old Nollywood actors:
- A novel idea ruined by poor execution:
The Therapist is available in cinemas nationwide (Nigeria).
John Jeremiah is an art lover who just wants to watch films and be taken care of. If he isn’t seeing something, he’s probably reading or eating okpa.