Mr. & Mrs
By Joy Bewaji
When a movie plays an opening sequence where a husband bullies the wife from the minute he walks through the door, you know the film is going to be touching on very sensitive nerves and exposing the insolences and audacities that are buried in many marriages of our time.
There’s a mix of sweet familiarity and freshness when you pair Nse Ikpe-Etim with Joseph Benjamin; you are assured of unequalled delivery from the duo that’ll warm the heart.
There’s quirkiness to the script that would make you sit on the edge eagerly waiting to see how it’ll unfold. The movie opens and rides through with the eccentricities of a man who just wouldn’t love his wife right. Coupled with his mother’s intrusionin her son’s matrimony, the film glides through verbal/emotional abuse, pain, insecurities, distrust, revengeand ultimately brings us to a junction where decisions have to be made if love will thrive.
Joseph Benjamin is Ken Abba - a pampered son who demands subservience from his wife. He is an impatient, unloving, insensitive, self-centred man with needs and requirements that turn his wife (Mrs Abba played by Nse) into a very unattractive slave in her matrimonial home. When the issue of divorce and moving-on was finally brought to the table, Mr Abba buys into it wholly and wishes his wife out of his life completely. But there’s a twist– his father is running for governorship and all ends must be tightened; so a divorce in the family might just be the loose end the opposing team would use against him during the elections. So as a long-suffering wife, Mrs Abba (Nse) decides to play along but insists the divorce must be made final and would depart her husband’s home after the elections.
It is a very simple plan that would mean she remains in the home as a “flatmate” and nothing more. Signing the divorce papers would free her of any obligations towards her husband and she only remains in the house to save face. However, Mrs Abba has her own agenda whichfrankly are very bold and may not really work in a true Nigerian marriage/home. She creates this impression of a woman free from the claws of marital slavery and embarks on a randy almost promiscuous path – a total 360-degree change from what she used to be, even though it was all to make her husband (Joseph) jealous. This leaves Mr Abba confused, threatened and reflective.
On the other side of town is her friend (acted by Thelma Okoduwa) – a hardworking banker married to a civil servant. Unable to meet her husband’s sexual and emotional needs, he finds comfort in the arms of the maid. That might seem very typical, but the theme is carefully woven into the story to give a very thorough picture why some men do what they do.
Mr.&Mrs is a story from the heart that reaches through to the hearts of the viewers. In one of their many fights, Nse screamed in such tumultuous pain when she declared that love needs to be nurtured for it to grow or else it will die and be buried.
I love Nse and I am very impressed by Joseph Benjamin’s career growth. Together they make an incredible couple as they conjure up amélange of love, drama, anger, desire and forgiveness.This Chinwe Egwuagu production is definitely worth the applause.