Nollywood’s work rate has tremendously improved in the past two to three years. Stories like Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys, Editi Effiong’s The Black Book, Eku Edewor’s Breath of Life, and Reuben J Reng’s Love and Life have portrayed the importance of relationships, family, and what grief can do to a person. On Love and Life, the importance of understanding one’s problem before any assumptions is highly emphasized in the story. We all have feelings, so instead of being selfish with your emotions, it is expected that we embrace them and communicate how we feel and Love and Life teaches this lesson. Apart from that, one aspect that stood out the most is how the story portrayed grief in the real sense in addition to how one can handle grief.
The film currently airs on prime video, and is produced and directed by Reuben J Reng, and written by Brenda ogbuka Garuba. This film explores the life of three friends, Abike, Ivy, and Osas played by Rita Dominic, Michelle Dede, and Nse Ikpe Etim respectively. Abike’s character is a grieving widow who lost her beloved husband to an illness, Ivy is a mother and wife whose marriage is in trouble, and Osas happily explores different relationships until she finds herself in an uncertain romance. These three women who seem to have a perfect life in the eyes of the outside world struggle with their individual lives.
The drama Love and Life opens the viewer’s eyes to the importance of love and friendship in our lives, how each person in our lives needs love, why we need to remove assumptions that a person doesn’t need us more than we need them, and how we can thrive and endure to build long lasting friendships. Dotun Olakunri, a driving force behind the film, said, “Our ambition has always been to produce cinema that resonates on an emotional level. With ‘Love and Life’, we have moved closer to this goal. This film is about grief, life, challenges you face daily, and how you use friendship and sorority to tackle those problems.” And everything was carefully and clearly portrayed in this movie.
After Abike lost her husband she shut everyone out of her life, her company suffered, and her friends who were also struggling in different areas of their lives showed up for her all the time until she came out of her shell and found out that while she grieved, the other people in her life that she loved dearly were having problems too. Ivy, oblivious to her husband’s struggle at work, concluded that Dekunle had been cheating on her, and that was why he didn’t have time for the family or her needs. Osas, who has never been loved for who she is, finally finds love from her boyfriend Dante, played by Ray Adeka but she pushes him away with her insecurity. While pretending that she doesn’t need love from any man.
Abike instead of just sitting and grieving went straight to trying hard to fix the lives of her friends. First, she listened to them and then tried to keep them from experiencing further problems by helping them take their minds off it, offering positive and kind words, and all-round support. Of all the things I loved about this movie, the one that stood out was the way Abike stood up for her friends even though she was grieving. There she was, trying to fix their lives without them even knowing it. Defining the true meaning of friendship.
When Abike reaches out to Dekunle, Ivy’s husband to speak to him about the problem in his home, he finds him with another woman, Tessy played by Miwa Olorunfemi, who according to Dekunle is a colleague, while Abike does not believe this, she makes sure Ivy never found out about the other woman and was able to help them repair their marriage without causing a dispute, drama, or hating anyone which I find worthy of emulating.
Osas and her relationship with Dante wasn’t going to see the light if Abike allowed her to act irrationally about the whole situation. She took it upon herself to find out things that made Osas insecure and discovered they weren’t what they seemed to be. Thereby, freeing Osas of her insecurity and getting back her boyfriend.
Each character’s perspective showed how much everyone was so self-centered until there was a wake-up call to realize what it truly is instead of what they think it is. Love and Life is a beautiful watch, a movie that can help you reflect on the true meaning of friendship and love. How friendship should be free from judgments, instead looking into the real picture to understand the life of a person and the reason why they are like that.
The acting, plot and characters generally were amazing, the actors bodied their role, and a must-watch for personal growth. However, the part played by Dekunle wasn’t really clear until the end about what the involvement with the lady Tessy was. I feel like the story should have stuck to him cheating, instead of trying to give it a happy ending on that part. I didn’t just accept the story that he thought Tessy was his daughter from another woman. That role wasn’t played well and the story didn’t add up.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching this film. It ended well and the purpose of the story was clearly delivered. The movie conveys clear messages about healing, turning challenges into positive outcomes, and the strength found in helping others. I hope you give it a watch too.