Judith Audu made a fairly well received film, Just Not Married that went ahead to be screened at the City to City component of the Toronto International Film Festival. She returns this year with Stormy Hearts, a musical drama that is about as exciting as watching a fresh coat of paint dry.
It isn’t just that Stormy Hearts is dull, the story is actually a familiar Cinderella style tale of helplessness and clawing out of the pit of desperation.
Ella, played by newcomer, Christiana Martin is a hooker turning tricks for Gold digger, her greedy pimp (is there any other type?) Ella has dreams of being a singer and fancies herself having a great voice (Hint: she doesn’t.)
On a working visit to one of her most generous Johns (Fred Amata), Ella takes advantage of a fatal weakness and makes away with a large sum of money to begin life anew.
In one of the most unconvincing scenes of the film (a reach, as every single frame of Stormy Hearts is quite unconvincing,) Ella attempts unsuccessfully to persuade her roommate to join her on the new path to freedom.
She makes a break for a new apartment on Lagos Island (so much for privacy) and goes to audition for a singing gig at a local club.
Everything about the singing competition is a bad joke; from the host (a terrible Omoye Uzamere), to the uninterested judges and the atrocious singing. Anyway Ella gets the gig and you can guess what happens next, she is spotted by someone loyal to Goldigger. How exciting.
At home, Ella comes in contact with her moody neighbour, Basi (Eddie Watson) a mediocre producer with zero instrumental skills who has the temerity to act surprised when his protégé Kachi (Theresa Edem-Isemin) leaves him for Johnson, a hotter, muscle bound jerk (a bored Kenneth Okolie) with even less talent.
Just to reiterate, there is no shred of talent between the foursome and the music in Stormy Hearts reflects this. Badly dubbed, badly performed and terribly mixed. You want to weep when a character destroys Asa’s classic, Bibanke.
Anyway, Ella and Basi’s boring romance progresses, Gold digger gets wind and wants his property back. Kachi and Johnson aren’t getting along as swimmingly as she imagined.
Two bumbling neighbours are thrown in for comic effect. All the jokes fall flat. Some more terrible music is made. Can anything be worse than this? Really.
Directed by Tope Alake, working from a screenplay by Brenda Ogbukaa and Chijioke Ononiwu, Stormy Hearts genuinely has nothing good going for it.
The end comes soon and not a moment sooner. Someone is killed, another is arrested, true love runs its course and you, dear viewers can finally be rid of this affliction. Nothing to see here.