MOVIE REVIEW - Letters To a Stranger

This movie review was done by a special request from Omosewa.I promised her I'd do one and I always try to keep my promises.

Starring: Fred Amata, Genevieve Nnaji, Femi Blaq, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Joke Silva, Eucharia Anunobi, Elvina Ibru
Written by Victor Sanchez Aghahowa
Directed by Fred Amata

The Story centres on Jemima, a working class lady who has a peculiar hobby of keeping a diary which is addressed to a non-existent stranger.
Through a wrong number dial on her phone, she eventually meets a real stranger (played by Femi Blaq) and they become phone buddies. Meanwhile, her supposed fiancé, Frederick (Played by Fred Amata), is not handling their relationship well and his negligence drives her to confide more in her stranger friend.
They eventually meet and things begin to happen as the inconsistency of Fred drives Jemima closer to her stranger friend, Sadiq.
Complications arise when it turns out Sadiq and Fred know each other and when she finds out she loves both men but one must go for the other.

The story is simple and has the theme that most Nollywood movies would show in their films but this movie stands out in its own unique way which one cannot ignore.
From the dialogue sequences to the lighting effects, camera work and post production, the movie expresses the work of improved professionalism in the Nigerian film industry.

A lot of Nollywood movies are known for showcasing stories with cheesy and unrealistic dialogues, their saving grace being prolific actors who would usually add their own flair to it. Letters to a Stranger is a departure from this norm. The script was good; from the delivery of the actors you could tell that it was meticulously done. I give it up to Victor Sanchez Aghahowa who wrote the script. Unlike some other Nollywood movies, the movie avoids senseless and unnecessary dialogue. You are kept on point with the conversation and there’s no how you get to miss out on it or get bored by it.
Apart from just very few glitches, most of the dialogue delivered were realistic and reminiscent of how it’s done in Hollywood blockbusters. Because of this the movie makers were able to create some good suspense through the dramatic and emotional dialogues between the actors.

A lot of the camera work and angles were quite impressive. The lighting was good and not exaggerated. There was a consistency all through it that gave the movie its own feeling of warmth and emotion. There is so much impact you can create on a movie through the lighting. Post production did some impressive job with effects like the slow-motion shots and the accompanying sound effect.

I was overjoyed when I noticed that the movie had a soundtrack that didn’t practically tell you the whole story. The soundtrack along with other sound effects were brilliantly arranged. It further encouraged my rating for the movie.
The transitions from scene to scene was fluid and blended so well that timeliness was well achieved and the movie did not attempt to waste the viewer’s time.

The Actors were not disappointing. I found Yemi Blaq’s performance very impressive and realistic. He fitted so well into his role such that you don’t see Yemi Balq, rather you see Sadiq, the compassionate stranger.
Genevieve Nnaji still proved the screen queen that she is. As Jemima, she handled the barrage of conflicting emotions so well that I’d recommend her for a Hollywood performance any day.
Elvina Ibru surprised me. She was the movie’s comic relief and she did a damn good job of it. Her antics as Tare, Jemima’s sanguine and outrageous roommate were so hilarious and real you would have thought she wasn’t acting but just catching her fun.

Fred Amata didn’t really do it well for me as Frederick the fiancĂ©. He was a bit plastic though he still managed to carry his role effectively to the end.
I was surprised that other minor roles were handled by big actors and actresses like Eucharia Anunobi, Joke Silva, Segun Arinze so well too. Eucharia especially was a natural in her powerful in delivery of her role as Jemima’s boss.

It would be unfair to say there weren’t a number of flaws or overlooked areas in the movie. As usual in most Nigerian movies, audio quality has always been a challenge. Letters to a Stranger fell victim to this as well. There were instances where some actors’ voices were louder than others. There was also the case of uncontrolled background noise which stole the emotional importance of the dialogue between Jemima and Fred in the scene where he was about to take her to the airport.

The Phone conversation audios were not well edited. In scenes where the person on the other end of the phone was out of view, the sound was not telephonic but rather as if the person was in the same room as the caller or receiver. Such an oversight could kill the realistic feel of the moment unless it’s a scene in which the screen is split to show callers on both sides at the same time.

The dream scene in which Tare dreams of her favorite star, Dbanj about to kiss her was a hilarious scene but was not well executed and as a result lost the humour which would have been priceless.

The movie’s title is unique and very different from the usual funny titling of your regular Nigerian movie but it sort of lost its relevance early into the movie as the stranger was revealed too soon. Fortunately, it caught on back as the movie went on.

Lastly, we do appreciate the sponsorship of MTN but their presence was made way too loud and obvious. At a point the movie was beginning to look like an over-extended MTN TV commercial which could be quite annoying. Though at a point, the movie makers made the mistake of letting us see that Jemima’s supposed MTN phone actually had a Glo line in it as we see in the taxi scene where she had to call either Fred or Sadiq to make her choice.

Overall, Letters to a Stranger was a good movie and an applaudable credit to director and producer Fred Amata, and associate director and writer Victor Sanchez Aghahowa.
It’s a movie worth watching and not a waste of your money; it’s a movie that gets you laughing, smiling and shedding a tear or two. The suspense is very impressive and effective, the dialogues are interesting and the ending impactful.

Rating for Letters to a Stranger
Worth watching! ****

Rating List

Don’t waste your money abeg! > *
They tried > **
Not bad at all > ***
Worth watching! > ****
Grab some popcorn or suya! > *****

PS:I had to post this entry through HTML! Blogger is still messing with my settings! I dont have a post editor panel!

13 Screamer(s):

Anonymous said...

Hello oh, Jemina's 'writings' is a collection of thots and not a diary! Remember?
How I loathed Nigerian films? I could not stand the sound track, stunts and the make-up... basically, everything! But that was until I saw some movies produced under 'Project Nollywood'.
This project led to the production of 'Letters To A Stranger' and several others (there is a particular one about a tv presenter- acted by Dakore Egbuson- which is also nice).
I think this is the beginning of better things to come out of Nollywood. With the right support (FINANCIAL), the next level is not so high!
Lots of Love,

Buttercup said...

I really enjoyed the movie, it was different from the typica naija movie...wasnt quite sure bout the end tho...

Nice r u?

That was a wonderful review. We need such reviews and constructive criticisms to move nollywood forward.

Jaycee said...

I enjoyed the

Anonymous said...

I loved the review. IF only we could have more of this kind of review of Nigerian movies.

I loved the movie cos it was so different from the usual. The ending was also realistic instead of the usual cheesy ones.

aloted said...

ah looks like i have to watch this movie o...thanks for the review

Anonymous said...

OMG, I love this know my life was sort of like this...and my stranger sent me the movie in an email....

Damn, life can be so unfair!!

I look forward to watching 9ja movies when I go to Nigeria this christmas. Genevieve is still kicking it I see! Fred Amata has never rally done it for me...gosh I havent watched one of these movies in years...i use to be hooked on em. Would have my aunt send me bags of 9ja films. Great review. I'll look for this movie when i go...

Naughty Eyes said...

Like everyone's saying, it's a great review. I'm yet to watch the movie though... Had a bad spell with some rotten ones recently so I've stopped watching and reviewing them too. Somethings to point out though:
1. You interchanged Femi Blaq and Yemi Blaq.
2. I've never heard of Victor Aghahowa till now. I must be living under a rock.
3. Great screenshots too especially the glo one. Was the telephone scene really shot in split screen or were you trying to show an example?
4. Did D'Banj feature really do the cameo in the Tare dream scene? You didn't mention.
5. I LOVEEEEE your rating system! I might even adapt it for my blog. I haven't got a rating system yet.
6. Continue being "laid-back". I dig your style.

Afronuts said...

@Anonymous…Thanks for that note, thought I think there was a place where refernce to diary was made.
@Buttercup…you know why you aint sure about the end? Becuz it was realistic!

Thanks a lot, I’m doing fine!

@Emeka Amakeze…Thanks bro. I do a lot of it. Don’t mind doing it for money sha!

@Jaycee…Me too.

@Iwalewa…Thanks. Are reviews like this rare? Hmm. Maybe I shud do more of it.

@ aloted & NaijadramaQ …Go see it. It’s not bad.

@kinshar…So ur life’s like a movie? How much are the tickets? I wanna watch!

@Naughty eyes…Thanks for the observations! And yes, Dbanj did a cameo in the movie. Also, the telephone scene was shot in split screen in the movie. Thanks for the big ups!

Kofi Bofah said...

Just floating through blog world.

Greetings from Chicago.

doll said...

il be on the look out 4 d movie
LMAO@ Soundtrack that doesn't tell the entire true of our goodl home videos

Anonymous said...

Yeah man...for you its

how was your holiday?