Producer: Biodun Stephen
Director: Biodun Stephen
Script: Biodun Stephen
Cast: Bayray Mcwinzu, Wole Ojo, Bolalanle Ninalowo, Kunle Remi, Ronke Oshodi- Oke
Society dictates how most of us react to a situation. There are many unbelievable things happening in Nigeria, but Nigeria is majorly a conservative Nation. Many things that happen in the country get judged by the conservative nature of the society. Among many of the things frowned upon is single parenthood. There is a constant need to make women in general feel as though they aren’t human when they are without partners, and if a child is involved.
Being a single mom comes with a bad reputation. It is forgivable if the father of the child marries the woman a few months after, but it is a real shame if he leaves and she has to train the child alone. People will talk, they will mock, and many of these women are left to deal with different emotions. When a woman trains a child alone, society forgets that only resilience and fierce determination can carry the woman through. This offers us an interesting topic to debate on, in Biodun Stephen’s new film “Tiwa’s Baggage”.
Tiwa’s Baggage concentrates on the baggage of being a single mother, and also the narrow, straining and sometimes consuming road of being dumped by a partner when pregnant.
Tiwa (Bayray Mcnwizu) is abandoned by her boyfriend Olu (Bolanle Ninalowo) after getting pregnant. At first, theirs was the perfect love story, pregnancy disrupts this perfect love story and she is left alone. Tiwa moves into a new apartment when things get really bad, courtesy of Nana (Biodun Stephen) while in her new apartment she sulks over her lost love. We meet an extremely sad woman about to embark on a journey of being a single parent. She eventually gets close to her neighbor, Lolu (Kunle Remi). They start a relationship and he is the support system she requires to carry on until Olu shows up repentant and ready to disrupt Tiwa’s life again.
The social stigma comes from Tiwa’s family, they have a few opinions about her lack of a supportive partner, they mock her instead of support her. To get pregnant and not follow up with a marriage in many cultures in Nigeria, means that you are used goods.
Tiwa’s Baggage is teased as a true life story. The purpose of the film in its early stage is to re-assure single mothers that with, or without the availability of a partner they can still thrive. The problem is Biodun Stephen moves too fast, and instead of concentrate on creating an art content that squashes the stereotype of being a single parent, she concentrates on making a highly sexual film. The presence of the several sexual scenes between Lolu and Tiwa distracts the purpose of the story. We enjoy the great chemistry between Bayray and Kunle but that shouldn’t be all to it. The message being passed by the writer is that even with everything that has happened, Tiwa does not slow down on establishing another relationship, we get the purpose of this message but there was a need to cut down on the sex scenes and allow more conversation between the couple. There is a clear and conscious effort to create many sexual scenes in Tiwa’s Baggage, this is unnecessary as the initial story does enough for the film. It would have been interesting to watch Tiwa and Lolu have a love that is not constantly sexually explosive.
Lolu, however, serves as some sort of hero, he is resilient and eager to care for a family that is not his, it offers Tiwa comfort.
The distraction from the storyline is not the only bad we notice from Tiwa’s Baggage, the costumier distracts the film for every scene where we see Tiwa pregnant. For a true life story being imitated on screen, there should have been more care with the little things that matter, especially with the baby bump. The failure to have a proper looking bump is an unforgettable mishap in Tiwa’s Baggage.
On the other hand, Acting is superb. It makes the film enjoyable. Biodun Stephen impresses in the few scenes she appears, and Ronke Oshodi-Oke succeeds in annoying the hell out of the audience and that is her purpose in the whole story. There are very few actresses I enjoy on screen, as I do Bayray Mcnwizu, she was born for this. It never looks difficult on her, and on Tiwa’s Baggage, she does an exceptional job. Kunle Remi is calm and reserved and he does a great job besides Bayray.
About the Author
Rejoice Abutsa is a 22-year-old aspiring Filmmaker and a big dreamer. She’s also a ‘Theatre and film’ arts graduate from the University of Jos, Nigeria.