For clarity’s sake, this essay is not from a place of hate for Nollywood movies. It might interest you to know that I am a very big lover of Nollywood and I only enjoy watching these movies in the cinema. The two or three times I have watched Hollywood movies in the cinema, I did not enjoy them. Yep, you read that right. This is not to say that I do not love Hollywood movies as well. It might shock you that I watch more Hollywood movies than I do Nollywood movies but, take me to the cinema, I will choose the latter. In all, I love both and appreciate the effort these filmmakers put into their craft.
As a Nigerian who watches Nollywood movies, this write-up is meant to shed light on things that have “cringed” me while watching these Nollywood movies and at this point, whenever I notice it, which is all the time, it makes me want to pull my locs out.
Here are four things that give me the irk when I watch these movies.
1. The Misrepresentation of Wigs
The one that takes the upper hand is the misrepresentation of wigs. Correct me if I am wrong but do ladies wear wigs when they are lazing at home? I certainly do not think so. I know for a fact that even wearing a wig out, it gets uncomfortable after a period, to the point where you cannot wait to get home, pull it off and allow fresh air to hit your head. Not in Nollywood movies, however. The actors live in a world where wearing a wig whilst at home is normal. Even when the actors are supposed to be expressing emotions like sadness and grief, you still find a wig sitting pretty on their heads. How is that even possible? When one is sad or grieving, do they even remember to wear a wig? I am pretty sure that would be the last thing on any lady’s mind at that point but because the humans in Nollywood live in a different world from the rest of us, they somehow always remember to wear a wig.
What is even more laughable about this wig fiasco is when I see the actors wearing it to sleep. Wow! How does that even make for a good night’s sleep? And most times the actors do not even use a scarf or rubber band to hold it together. It is left all wild and free. Come on. Nigerian filmmakers, this needs to stop. We need to learn to embrace our natural hair. It is beautiful and worth showing off.
Another embarrassing aspect that goes with the wig controversy is the use of makeup. As you see the actors wearing the wig at home, you also see their faces painted with makeup. Then again, could it be that I find it cringy because I like to be the freest and most comfortable when I am at home? Maybe some ladies wear wigs and makeup to stay home. Maybe I am the abnormal one.
I highly doubt that. I also highly doubt that ladies wear makeup to sleep. Especially now that having a skincare routine is the order of the day. Not in the world of Nollywood, they have no idea what a skincare routine is.
Away from movies for a bit. Recently, I watched a commercial for a soap brand and the actor used makeup on her face while having her shower. I felt like yelling at the top of my voice while watching it but, I instead composed myself and decided to put my yelling to writing. The thing with commercials is that you unfortunately get to watch them repeatedly. I am tired. Please stop.
Siri, play leave the door open by Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak and Silk Sonic.
3. Leaving the Door Open
This brings me to my next point. I know most movies are works of fiction where worlds are created but even with that, movies should mirror what happens in real life. They should be relatable at least to a very large extent. Leaving your house door unlocked is very much not relatable, at least not to me. With crime on the increase, I believe a lot of people are now more security conscious than ever. According to Numbeo, the level of crime in Nigeria is 70.90 high. At this rate, tell me why anyone would not be security conscious. According to Sahara Reporters, a data consulting firm Beacon, nothing less than 8372 lost their lives to insecurity in Nigeria, in 2021.
In Nollywood movies, it seems they are living in their own world because, when a visitor knocks on the door, the actor says, “come in”, without bothering to ask who it is. I have seen this several times. In a movie I watched recently, the visitors did not even bother knocking, they just barged in. In whose house is that done? Certainly not mine.
4. Cheating, Cheating and More Cheating
The fourth and final irk is how the theme of men cheating is the most common theme in Nollywood movies. I have had enough of it. I am done with those movies. Whenever I start watching a Nollywood movie and I see that is the central idea, I let out an eye roll and find something else to occupy me. What is it with cheating that many Nollywood writers take so much interest in?
Thank God for Nigerian cinema movies and Nigerian Netflix movies that are changing the narrative gradually but, you see those smaller movies, they rarely give something other than this. I want to call out a popular production company known for this kind of movie but, all I would say is that the name of the company starts with an R and ends with a K, go figure.
As an aspiring filmmaker, I know making a movie is not a walk in the park but, please, Nigerian filmmakers, you can do better.
Edited by Sean Mulryan
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