Movie Title: A Naija Christmas
Lead Cast: Rachel Oniga, Kunle Remi, Segilola Ogidan, Efa Iwara, Abayomi Alvin, Linda Osifo, Ade Laoye, Mercy Johnson- Okojie, Carol King, Lateef Adedimeji, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, and Jude Chukwuka.
Writer: Kemi Adesoye
Director & producer: Kunle Afolayan
Release date: December 12, 2021
Running time: 2hours 1 minute
Finally! A home-grown 100 per cent Christmas movie we can truly call ours.
Those were my first thoughts when I began watching Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie, ‘A Naija Christmas’.
For others, it is simply an authentic Naija Christmas movie. But irrespective of how you choose to describe it, one thing is clear- this movie is a breath of fresh air.
This much-anticipated dramedy is being hailed as Nigeria’s first holiday movie. But does it really live up to the hype? Well, you will have to read this review to the very end to see our verdict.
Christmas is one of, if not, the most celebrated holiday in Nigeria. It’s the season when families reunite.
The film tells the story of three brothers striving to make their mother’s desire of becoming a grandmother a reality, especially with the Christmas season around the corner. The director, Afolayan, combines themes like classism, gender and faith, to depict the Nigerian society and a contemporary Christmas celebration in Lagos.
The film begins with a shot of Rachael Oniga ( Madam Agatha ) at the ‘classic women meeting. The women are brainstorming about their church’s forthcoming Christmas gala.
The shot moves to her three sons, Ugo, and Chike, who are trying to help their brother, Obi, pull off a befitting engagement to his crush and girlfriend Vera.
Unfortunately for the brothers, especially Obi, all their efforts went down the drain, as Vera turned down the proposal, setting social media agog, with the hashtag #Mugurejection.
Madam Agatha got wind of the situation during the meeting and she couldn’t handle the shock and faints.
Typical of the average Nigerian mother, Madam Agatha can’t wait to become a grandmother and so manoeuvred her way into making the boys promise that they would bring a girl home for Christmas.
Madam Agatha hashed a plan with an arm-twisting proposal for her sons, one intended to nudge them toward marriage and eventually parenthood.
Whichever one of them secured a future wife by Christmas would inherit the family home.
Though not a competition, it was, by no means a small feat for the boys. The eldest son, Ugo, is a music producer who is indebted to a loan shark. Can Ajike, a nice church girl, make him a repentant playboy?
The middle son, Obi, a nerd, struggles with a speech defect while trying to make up his mind-Vera or Kenteng, his best friend?
And her youngest son, Chike, who is genuinely smitten by an older married woman, Samatha.
While her sons solve the puzzle of love, Madam Agatha and her status-conscious church women friends prepare for the annual Christmas gala.
The movie is a didactic and romantic, family dramedy.
It reveals the unique features and aspects of Nigeria’s Christmas celebration.
It exemplifies the contemporary Yuletide celebration where families leave their busy schedules to reunite and celebrate the season together.
The movie is laced with music and a little bit of choreography.
‘A Naija Christmas’ is a timely movie as it is a pertinent reminder of the values of ‘love’ and ‘family’.
It merges the different classes obtainable in Lagos city. The producers were able to recreate what seemed like a real life concert in the Ghetto, it was not staged managed, as is common in many Nollywood movies.
Another great aspect of the movie is the fact that it captured the locations and differences between the haves and have not.
Segilola Ogidan (Ajike)
Segilola Ogidan who played the role of Ajike or Ajiks baby as fondly called by Ugo is not exactly a new face in Nollywood. Ugo and Ajike’s story is your typical love story everywhere in the world. Also Mama wanting her Boys to marry and the desire to be a Grandma is definitely a typical Nigerian scenario.
Her role was phenomenal;combining singing and acting, her subtle church girl character was well portrayed in every bit and action.
The 31-year-Old Nigerian actress and producer who is popularly known for her role as Tonye in ‘The Men’s Club’,was born in Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State. She’s the writer of ‘Mum Dad Meet Dad.
Rachel Oniga (Mama/ Madam Agatha)
The film opens with a dedication to Mrs. Oniga, one of the leads of the film who passed away before the film could be released.
She has been working in the Nigerian film industry since 1993, which might lead us to think that she would have been elated at the significance of the film’s release on an international streaming platform.
A Niaja Christmas was one of the last movies the actress starred in before she died. The veteran actress featured in some of the best English and Yoruba Nollywood movies until her death.
Ms Oniga depicted the character of a typical Nigerian mother with adult sons, who are still single.
The movie is hailed as Nollywood’s first holiday movie on Netflix.
In a bid to capture the different aspects of the Nigerian culture, the movie
blended the Igbo and Yoruba culture as seen through the eyes of the actors.
The movie explicitly captures the Naija spirit of Christmas, especially with the
Ghetto Christmas in Mushin which was the highpoint of the movie.
Basically it’s difficult to fault this particular movie.
‘A Naija Christmas’ is a good start for more Nollywood holiday movies to come. It makes for an enjoyable watch what with its unique storyline. It’s that movie, which serves as an eye opener to different love tales and the unique way Nigerians celebrate Christmas.
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