Amarachi (Owumi Ugbeye), a naive secondary school leaver, is raped and decides to keep the resulting pregnancy. Here family rejects her, compelling her to move in with her Aunty Christy (Biola Williams) and Janet (Ruth Kadiri), Christy’s daughter, where unexpected revelations startle everyone.
The dialogue in Stolen Lives is enlivening to an extent and there are one or two remarkable subtexts. Janet tells Amara, “I just took a test” to which Amara replies, “I am sure you’ll pass because you prepared for it”. Janet then says, “It’s not an exam, I did an HIV test. The film tries to reiterate the significance of Sex Education in the family, especially for impressionable youngsters.
These days, there are several films that centre on social issues, but many of them fail to tell interesting stories about the human beings whose lives are affected by those social circumstances. Rather, they make the issues the stars of the films by failing to create three-dimensional characters and Stolen Lives falls into this trap. Films are, first and foremost, the stories of human beings who encounter difficulties and take decisions on how to solve their problems.
In Stolen Lives, the main plot and subplots are not captivating enough to sustain the attention of an enlightened audience. It can be deduced that the subplots, which are watery and inconclusive in some cases, are introduced to fill up the space created by the main plot’s thin storyline.
The dangers of the attitude of parents who compare and contrast their children’s performance plus those who create gulfs that stifle meaningful conversations between them and their children is highlighted in this movie, albeit in an uninteresting way as some of the actions are exaggerated. Amarachi’s mum rejects her daughter without looking back; indeed. The drama, which Amarachi’s mum creates because around her daughter’s inability to get a good JAMB/UME score is extreme.
It is implausible that Amarachi, a jobless young lady with very little support from anyone, will keep her pregnancy. Is her life at risk? How does she hope to survive? It is childish and awkward to see Jumoke’s mum rush out the way she did, does she think her teenage daughter knows nothing about sex? Inadequate research rears its head when Junior tells Anita that the rig is not a place for a young lady. Don’t young ladies work on offshore rigs?
The hospital scene, where they wait for Amarachi to put to bed, is too long. Who cast Amarachi’s mum in Stolen Lives? How can a moralist mum have taboos on her body? Jumoke requests for hundred thousand naira, how many hundred? At the doctor’s office, Amarachi and observes, “The pamphlet says, “They are support clubs one can join”. The doctor replies, “Yes, they are”.
Many of the characters in Stolen Lives are easily forgotten whilst the story the film tells really has nothing new to offer.