Where are all the single Lagos girls at? Diary of a Lagos Girl is one movie you should see especially during this season of love!
The title of this movie very easily made it my choice for the night. It called out to me as a Lagos girl, if living and working in Lagos for years and very importantly, being single, qualifies me to be called one. I wanted to see what aspects of the movie resonated with my experience; I wanted to see myself through the eyes of another. So in talking about my experience of this movie, I will be talking more about how it cuts true to life and how it finds a place, naturally, in the diary of almost every single Lagos girl, if not all.
Diary of a Lagos Girl is a romantic comedy on the love and relationship goals of a Lagos girl, Abimbola, “Bims for short.” In some parts cliche, it tells of love and forgiveness, provokes thoughts about one’s singleness on a social and even spiritual level, ignites laughter on so many levels and ultimately leaves a girl with butterflies in her stomach; dreaming of her own love story or lack of one.
Bims, in documenting her daily experience trying to find the perfect tall dark and handsome guy who is rich, Range Rover-driving, VGC-living, tongues-speaking and Jesus-filled, shares a story and fantasy that is not hers alone. The movie opens with a supposed older version of herself at weddings, having failed to hitch the perfect guy at a younger age and subsequently get married. She is still struggling to catch the traditional bouquet at weddings. It ends with an instructive message to single girls, that love might not be with the dude in the exotic car but the gentleman who just got off the okada. (Now, you’d say “it’s not my portion”).
I have to say that I was a little skeptical seeing Dolapo Oni in the lead for this movie. I wasn’t sure how her skills would elevate my experience of the movie because “pardon my ignorance”, not only was I seeing her in a movie for the first time, I was equally seeing her as a lead. But I was wrong. Sure her interpretation has room for improvement, but I quite easily found a soul sister in her character.
You see, Bims is almost every Lagos girl. You see her in church trying to hook the right rich born again brother and, in the same breath, volunteering at orphanages trying to impress the next. Not to judge your intentions, ladies.
Bims, is fashion-crazy (and gets into buy-now-pay-month-end debts for these items) not by design but by a desire to make an impression in the minds of prospects. Every Lagos wedding, at times four in a month, is attended with a grand scheme in mind: to hopefully meet ‘the one’. For all that effort, she is caught up with a “chewing-gum” loafer like Ife (Alex Ekubo) who despite parading the affluence the materialist Bims craves, does not really have it and does not also tick all the other important boxes.
Timi (OC Ukeje) draws Bims out of her materialistic ways. He calls out to the more humane part of her and causes her to find pleasure in some of the more ordinary things of life, like riding in a commercial bus in the movie. Through their banter, the movie attempts to answer the important question Bims asks and I paraphrase, ‘guys do the asking, why is it then hard for them to hook up with the right girl?’ To which Timi responds at some point in the movie, ‘sometimes, the girl is caught up chasing the wrong things.’
OC Ukeje is a natural and he brings so much life to this love story. You leave the cinema hall oohing and ahhing, smiling ear-to-ear and looking forward to meeting your real-life Timi around the corner. His interpretation of that character is deliberate, beautiful- like every lover-boy’s guidebook, and very filling. Linda Ejiofor remains spectacular in this movie as well, claiming the role of matchmaker, setting up and breaking relationships, ironically.
Alex Ekubo shines as well although I find bits of his characterisation confusing. Is he the minister’s son, yahoo-yahoo boy living off white lovers, the business consultant, in addition to being the lover-boy living above his means? When I think of Liz Benson-Ameye’s role in the movie, I am only able to describe it with a proverb loosely translated from my Igbo language as “as a woman never gets too old to dance a song she really knows how to dance”. My people, skill is timeless.
I really did like this movie. I like that it called out to the realities of the average Lagos girl. More so, I liked it because there is the reality of the average Lagos girl in real life to compare it with. Although it adopts the over-flogged diary approach, I cannot think of another appropriate way just yet in which the character, Bims, would have interacted with the viewers the way she does. I like it for the way the plot is developed, and the theatrics it adopts to give meaning to the experiences of Bims for example. I like it for the quality of the actors- no over/under acting. Everyone fit, making the story real. I like the movie, perhaps more importantly, for its funny dramatic twist at the end.
Dear ladies, for something fun to do this Valentine weekend, instead of contemplating on turning your ‘singleness’ into an album, go out and see this movie. Grab the biggest pack of popcorn, get a drink (forget all the talk about dieting), fold your legs into themselves on the sit and enjoy the movie. Yes, there are very cliche bits to the movie, but it will make you laugh, it would make you think and it would leave you entertained. Bims is someone who understands exactly what you are going through! It will also get you thinking albeit differently, about your own love story or lack of one, as well as relationship goals.
Please thank me later.