Mother of George tells the story of Nike (Danai Gurira), who joins her husband, Ayo, (Isaac De Bankole) abroad, following their wedding in Nigeria. There is untold pressure from her mother-in-law (Zainab Bukky Ajayi) for Nike to have a child almost from the moment she joins them abroad. Mama suggests to Nike and her younger son, Biyi, (Tony Okungbowa) to produce a child for Ayo since they are the same blood; culminating in astonishing consequences.
The film is, in certain respects, similar to Behind Closed Doors, an Emem Isong production, starring Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), Stella Damasus, Desmond Elliot and Patience Ozokwor; in which a terminally sick man (RMD) suggests to his infertile brother (Elliot) and his wife, (Damasus) that he (RMD) should father a child for them before dying. Of course, there were extreme complications as are seen in Mother of George.
Andrew Dosunmu, the director, employs a unique style in telling this story. Two people in conversation are not necessarily seen as far as the audience know who is talking. The streets are blurred, so no one knows exactly where the film is shot. This may be the director’s way of ensuring that people only pay rapt attention to the cast on the screen at any point in time and are not distracted by goings-on in the background.
Nike appears in Ankara almost all through the film; good costume design. Her complexion also makes it difficult to doubt her roots, good casting. The 105-minute film remains captivating with just a few characters. Kudos.
The sex scenes are categorical.
There is a rich display of the Yoruba culture in the film though 8 straight minutes of marriage formalities is really a long time in a film! The bride and groom look unhappy during the wedding, so one was expecting to hear that they were match-made, but there was no such thing.Why then is the couple’s countenance unfriendly even as they receive blessings from their parents?
The pressure to conceive starts on the heels of their wedding and looks quite premature. Why is this so when Ayo is not a lone son? Such menacing pressures usually arise when the person is the only son or even daughter.
It is when Nike mentions 18 months to the medical personnel that it is established that it has been more than one year after their wedding, which indeed is still a short time to worry so much about childbirth.
Even though infertility is defined as the inability to conceive within one year of regularly indulging in sexual intercourse with a view to procreating, medical experts maintain that there are couples, who need no fertility treatment, but who do not see any pregnancy in their first year of marriage. Some women become pregnant in their second or third years of trial. Yet, what is really baffling is that tests are never conducted to ascertain the suspicion that infertility is at work in Mother of George. Well, Ayo refuses to do any tests. Then wonder how his mum was cock sure he was impotent.
For 18 months, Nike’s hair-do never changes; how awful!Ayo’s accent is unreal and after the confession, it is his words rather than his facial expression that convey his anger. Nike does not speak her native language, Yoruba; strange for a lady who grew up in Nigeria. Though Nike is from a nondescript background, where were her parents in all the turbulence she confronts? She mentions her mother’s visitation, but couldn’t she have sought her mum’s advice at some point? After all, Shade (her close friend) knows everything;she is third party too!
Nike’s pregnancy as she knocks on the door and yells Ayo is terrible. It looks like a heap of badly arranged clothes. Why was Gideon Okeke, probably the only one who could have ensured box office success in Nigeria, just a special guest star? One had expected him to play a supporting role, at least.
What was the significance of the killing of the goat by the men in white robes? There are neither establishment shots of the city nor shots to show whether they live in a highbrow or low-cost area. There was too much use of Voice Overs, Off-Screens and Off-Cameras.
Mother of George pays attention to the story it is telling and nothing more. Perhaps, that is why the 2014 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) jury conferred the Best Director award on Andrew Dosunmu.