It's Her Day

IT’S HER DAY PROGRESSES ALL THE WAY, BUT….

Posted on Posted in Movie Critiques

Seated silently, in the movie chart of every cinema is this unsuspicious, and surprisingly brilliant movie, It’s Her Day. Unfortunately, it reigns at a time when other overtly raved movies—unbefitting too—exist. It is a considerably well-thought-out movie undeserving of the miserly attention it has ever received from the Nigerian media.

Had this movie a better budget: finishing, picture quality, sound, lighting, camera angling and scene transitioning, it could get lucky at landing a swell international distribution deal. It’s that insightful.

It’s Her Day is not Nollywood’s breakthrough movie (hell no); it’s got many flaws as well, but the movie brings with it great hopes that Nollywood is getting closer to where it’s meant to be in terms of analytical creativity, and in the world map of movies.

 

THEME

It’s Her Day keeps it simple and clear what its message is: a man with a complex tries to please the family of his bride-to-be by pretending he’s capable of footing the bill to an expensive wedding.

Here, we see a universal theme of “Pride Vs Humility”. The filmmaker tackles this theme in various exciting ways that all make a human connection with its audience.

  • First, he shows an abandoned girlfriend who exhibits wife-material attributes, then lays it side by side with the extravagant fiancée who is so proud it’s stiffening.
  • This brings us to our second method, of the fiancée and her entire family out-rightly saying and doing things that are plain conceited, but turning around to genuinely claim that they are, in fact, not.
  • Thirdly, the filmmaker explores this theme in the inspiring character of Victor, our protagonist. Victor is clearly fighting a battle of inferiority complex which leaves him in a confused state of pride when he’s with who he needs to please, and then humility when he’s back at home.
  • A fourth approach would be the local traditional wedding ceremony versus the crème de la crème white wedding; let’s not forget the naira notes versus the much desired dollars.

These are only but a few of the many ways this filmmaker comprehensively tackles this theme.

“Themed Parties” are a huge thing in Nigeria today, and our satirical movie smartly takes advantage of this craze that goes on in the society. Every lady’s dreams (that is those that dare to dream) are to hire an event planner (or fixer), get a glamourous event hall, a designer baker/tailor/ring/, appear in all the major blogs, celebrity inclusion, and many more. All these come at a price that our fiancée, Nicole, doesn’t care about. She looks like she could kill for them too, and her groom, Victor, in turn, nearly dies.

The “Reconciliation” between Victor and his abandoned girlfriend takes many turns as is expected of a complicated relationship:

  • She wants him;
  • but he’s getting married;
  • she tries to move on with someone else;
  • he comes back to see she’s with another man;
  • he goes back to his fiancée;
  • they are about to wed;
  • he gets pissed off one last time, and runs back to his old lover, begging on the grounds of his abandoned marriage;
  • they reconcile;
  • the end.

A little too cliché, but good showdown.

False Livelihood is seen in the character of Victor as he forces himself to live a life he is not cut out for. We can also see this in the character of the exorbitant wedding planner. In the end, it appears she’s pretentious about being a professional, as she doesn’t even have the direct contacts of the artistes she so casually talks about. This makes the other characters and the audience wonder what else this sweet-talker is lying about.

Bullying is an issue this filmmaker satirically celebrates in It’s Her Day. It appears, though, that he loves conflicts, and makes even the reserved Victor’s Ex a bully with her cane and sarcastic words. Almost everyone bullies in It’s Her Day: Victor’s aunt towards Victor, The Hernandez family (except the dad) towards Victor’s fat friend and even Victor himself, and their hostility towards the nature of his family background.

Conflict rules, and this filmmaker knows how to weave it into his themes. Conflict also requires character clashes, and there’s no better way of sending strong messages in a movie’s theme, than with interestingly fiesty characters. 10/10

 

PLOT

The plot pretty much employs coherence generally, and because this movie is straightforward, the sub-plots it’s got woven in sit in nicely. The problem now is; they are not fully developed. The abandoned girlfriend doesn’t do much with her time but wallows away in self-pity, meets an insignificant fellow, and whiles away some more; nothing progressive here. The only thing that makes her interesting and the audience keep rooting for her is the bad character Nicole, Victor’s fiancée, exhibits. If Nicole were well behaved, Victor’s Ex wouldn’t strike the audience as one worth looking out for.

However, the tension It’s Her Day brings is real; it’s not forced; it’s relatable. This makes up a great deal for other poorly developed characters and subplots. It also makes the movie appear as though it uses the highly acclaimed 8-Act Structure.

A good example of an epileptic sub-plot would be Victor’s Ex’s inclusion. It doesn’t make much sense that Victor’s fat friend would set up Victor to be damned by his Ex. Whatever happened to male solidarity? We also do not see the ex and Victor’s fat friend in close proximity, and so it’s vague what the relationship between them is really about.

Another example would be Victor’s aunt. We know she’s a trouble maker, but it would be nice to see more about her own personal struggles. One good way to achieving this is to set her up in a situation where she learns to change her rugged ways, or something. The same can be said about Victor’s fat friend, and Nicole’s sisters.

The major problem here is that the characters are too many in It’s Her Day, and when characters are this many, there is little or no space for proper development. This is not a good thing.

This filmmaker sets the pace with an initial exploration of Nicole replacing Victor’s own engagement ring with a more expensive rock, as she pushes for Victor’s re-proposal in front of friends, and for pictures for social media and blogs. This also reflects in her character that she could desperately request a better ring at the actual wedding…and she does. Impeccable character profiling.

The last straw that breaks the camel’s back for Victor is top-notch realistic. So many times, Nicole takes the piss with Victor (fantastic employment of plot twists, by the way), and the audience are left in the suspense of if Victor will choose those moments to walk away, but with this last incident of Nicole wanting Victor to change the wedding rings at the already-alter, at the moment of vows exchange, and where it’s totally impossible, Victor does the long awaited needful; he finally walks away.

The symbolic and hilarious inclusion of the keke napep to a five-star wedding could give one a heart attack. It is appreciable that the filmmaker touches on representing one of the kinds of secret decisions men make over beer (or something).

“Nearly the end” was a totally uncalled for and pretentious inscription, but it’s understandable why this filmmaker indulges in it; his Nigeria audience aren’t use to Nollywood epilogues. Well, there’s always a first time for everything right? 6/10

 

CHARACTER

The trance Victor falls into at some point when he sees yet another wedding bill gives the audience a peek into his real state of mind, and this rounds him up, with other attributes, as multi-dimensional in nature. This is impressive; we see his flaws, his fears, his pride, his insanity, his confusion, his happiness, his downfall and his victory. In short, we see him change and evolve, and one couldn’t ask for a better protagonist.

It is also very interesting that this filmmaker makes the antagonist the protagonist’s closest ally. There is no greater tension than having your enemy sit right in front of you the whole time. No. Movie watchers are used to seeing the antagonist play ball from afar. This is explosive, and the foundation of all the conflict that exist in this movie.

In any case, It’s Her Day could have done without a number of characters. First to take out would be Mr. Hernandez. His name rolls of the tongue of his family’s mouths like he was a god, when, truly, he’s nothing but a boring figurehead. It would be nice to have the story show that he’s dead already. His wife comfortably fits as one who would have long killed him off anyway.

There are two of Nicole’s sister that could take the part of one: the one with the unfaithful boyfriend, and realistic one that could be described as humble. This, and other cut outs, could have helped tighten the character rounding of this movie, and create more tension, while developing characters that thematically progress the story. Moreover, Nicole only needs two sisters: the devilish one, and the angelic one, to help us with the pride vs humility theme, just as Mr. Hernandez and his wife are opposites.

Victor’s aunty could have been profiled in such a way that only she mattered back at Victor’s home, thereby, eliminating all other characters present there. His father, again, is too vague in personality. This makes me wonder if this filmmaker has a challenge with representing fathers; it appears he doesn’t know much about them, or cares less about them, and that they are just in existence to him as figureheads.

Back to Victor’s aunty, her character is as symbolic as Tyler Perry’s Madea. It would have been nice to see more about her, and so all those other characters back home shouldn’t have existed, or should have been extras with no lines to say, allowing her to truly shine through.

There are no explanations as to how Victor’s sister and Augusta, Nicole’s sister, get all chummy; an unforgiving flaw this movie’s got.

The Hernandez butler is a mute and unique character whose actions and reactions say more about the Hernandez family than any words could describe. It would be nicer to have him stay quiet as he is all through the movie, rather than having him break his “silence vow” by saying he resigns. Although, he breaking this vow is a good concept on its own, it doesn’t quite fly, as how he says it falls flat. Instead, seeing that he is excellent at acting quiet, he could use conflicting actions in a manner that would spark the same kind of reactions as he saying he quits; that would also fit in his character.

Shaffy Bello is a natural, and takes Mrs. Hernandez’s role perfectly well. Mrs. Hernandez, however, doesn’t seem to live up to expectations on the day of her daughter’s wedding. What are those rags she is wearing? After talking in millions? What sort of make-up did she and her daughters get? Their appearance at the wedding look like the regular way they all had previously appeared. One could swear there were other times in the movie Nicole et al looked better made up than on this wedding day. No excuses. That was meant to be a five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) make up; it should still look new even if the bride just escaped death, having unknowingly swum in a pool of sharks. Or is this another of the many antics of the wedding fixer? This is not clarified in the movie.

Is there a symbolic reason Victor’s ex had to make do with a plus-sized man instead of a proper hottie? Is this another pride vs humility exploration? If so, it is not properly clarified in the movie. I’d rather she met a stud for tension’s sake; some clichés are just worth replicating, given the circumstance.

Victor’s clan of friends come into the show a bit too late, but this filmmaker cleverly makes the excuse of Victor having kept the wedding a secret, so it all sort of works out in the end. But is this the same set of boys that mimic the voices of 2Face, Davido, and Wiz Kid? Why keep the audience in that loop? That part could have been salvaged by some clarification. 5/10

DIALOGUE

Hardly would you find a statement in It’s Her Day that the filmmaker doesn’t create with one of these in mind:

  • to progress the plot:e.g. Victor’s Ex helps us understand Victor’s suffering from inferiority complex.
  • to employ sub-text:e.g. The dream wedding and all the grandiose details invariably meaning big trouble for Victor as money would have to be dished out for them, and some other parts.
  • to provide humor:e.g. Victor’s artistic methods of escaping a few of the many troubles he could with his ex, his fiancée, his new family, and basically everyone.
  • to dish our sarcasm:e.g. words by Victor, his ex, Mrs. Hernandez to euphemize grave conditions.

The problem is, even as brilliant as these are, they do not fit perfectly for film, as they are plagued with the too on-the-nose syndrome. So many times, the audience gets it, or already are in the know, but the characters keep going on and on about an issue. The humorous nature make it go unnoticed to an untrained eye, though.  Heck, even a trained eye might miss out on this inappropriate detail as well.

There are too many talking heads in this movie, though a few of them are filled with humor and conflict. One particularly humorous dialogue would be when Victor talks on about expelling the artistes from the wedding plan, and then refers to Bovi (this Filmmaker) as a comedian he doesn’t find much funny.

Some of the characters  speak too slowly when relaying their thoughts most of the time. Slow speech in movies might be preserved for when a character is confused, about to drop a bomb, saying something really convincing, has a significant and progressive flaw, or talks like some of the times Mrs. Hernandez proudly speaks. This shortcoming would be an issue with the actors, and not necessarily the script; they probably need to understand better the importance of speech pacing and rhythm in film.  5/10

PACING

The movie has a satisfactory pacing. A lot of things happen that keep the audience thought provoked all through; just when the audience is done processing the information dished out on screen, new information comes in for more processing. Not to worry, It’s Her Day could be described more as Aptitude Reasoning than GMAT’s arithmetic, and so a wide range of audience are welcome to take this test.

The long dialogue in some places sort of slow things down a bit, but the dialogue itself is quite interesting,  suspense-filled  and progressive, so it moves on quickly, despite the audience’s wait.

In the end, the glimpses of It’s Her Day’s epilogue on what happens after the failed wedding keeps the audience on their seat while the credit rolls. This is a rare reaction to Nollywood movies. It invariably means that the audience are not overwhelmed with boredom and tiredness, and are eager for more.  6/10

Finally, doing a comparative analysis of, say, AY’s A Trip to Jamaica and Bovi’s It’s Her Day, it wouldn’t be out of place to conclude in a final verdict that Bovi appears to be a better filmaker-cum-standup-comedian than AY, or should we say; more thoughtful and logical? The same can be said of It’s Her Day beside many other movies by grounded filmmakers in Nollywood. 32/50

PERCENTAGE: 64%
GRADE: B

 

 

Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.

She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.

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6 thoughts on “IT’S HER DAY PROGRESSES ALL THE WAY, BUT….

  1. This is the first time I would be reading your critique, even thought I’ve not seen both films in question, I hope you are very objective and unbais . My thoughts from a filmmakers point of view.

    1. I try my best to remove sentiments from my criticisms, and draw from my knowledge and experience as a screenwriter to analyze all movies. Thanks for the heads up, though.

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