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Sodas & Popcorn – Movie Review: Apaye



Apaye - A Mother's Love - February 2014 - BellaNaija 01
Directed by: Desmond Elliot, Niyi Akinmolaran (Assistant Director)
Written by: Uduak Isong Oguamanam, Kehinde Joseph and Vivian Chiji.
Produced by: Emem Isong.
Starring: Clarion Chukwurah, Kanayo O.Kanayo, Belinda Effah, Mbong Amata, and Millicent Jack.

A moving story of one woman’s quest to succeed against the odds. Inspired by true events, ‘Apaye’ is the story of Elder Irene Yepayeye Uriah, who struggled and toiled to provide for her family and to make sure they enjoyed a life that she never had.

The Script
I had long avoided the movie Apaye – probably because my movie instincts warned. But I didn’t listen. Anyway, it’s been seen, the harm has been done. I am not sorry to say Apaye is far from being an impressive movie. What exactly made this 1 hour 30 minutes movie so unbearable and endless for me I had to check my time over 8 times (Yep. I was counting)

The movie begins with a poor woman and two of her kids arriving at the home of Apaye, a respected woman in the community to seek financial assistance for the kids. Apaye (Clarion Chukwurah) sits the woman down and assures her everything will be fine and begins to tell her own story in a bid to convince the woman that she had equally gone through a lot in her life.

This movie had everything good going for it from the award winning script writers, to an award winning Director and an impressive budget. It’s almost like it was intentionally made with the vast amount of loopholes in it.

Apaye is a carelessly written piece which shows very little job done in researching a great woman’s life and does poorly in giving a befitting biopic to the now late woman. There were irrelevant scenes, such as the scene from the forest where very young Apaye was humming a tune and meets a woman who disappears. Apaye doesn’t show any element of surprise, she just keeps walking on and singing. The scene suddenly gets transformed to a church with a choir singing the tune being hummed in the forest. Call me slow, but I didn’t see the value of that part in the story.

There were poorly developed scenes, such as soldiers not being able to break down the door of a ‘hut’. Dear writers, we know you were trying to help the characters you love so dearly escape through the back window before the soldiers made it into the room, but there could have been a better way to execute that, right?

Apaye’s daughter got pregnant, but we never hear about it again through out the movie. Poof! Just like that, it’s gone. We were never told if she aborted the child, if she lost the child or gave away the child. By the way, what happened to Apaye’s cousin(Emma’s second wife) after the Biafran war? Important characters and events like this in a movie shouldn’t be lost like a Malaysian plane without some explanations from the script writers.

Apaye was obviously about the woman and her children. Why didn’t the children get more character development? We see them fight, we see them play, we see them argue all together, but we never see them give standalone solid performances on their own. If we were to be touched by the movie as the script writers intended, the secret to that was in the characters. But with a poorly done job such as this, every scene where I should have been crying only made me either laugh or shake my head. I was almost a nuisance to the couple beside me (thank God, somebody was enjoying the movie). Let’s not even talk about the dialogues. It was like scripts were glued to the faces of actors and characters were reading their lines off the faces.

I could go on about the flaws the movie had, but I guess my point should be clear already. Some reading this might think the flaws are little and should be overlooked. Indeed, maybe the mistakes don’t count, but for a movie that already has 6 AMAA nominations under its belt, it either shows the quality of films being made in Nollywood or the standard of movies being submitted to the awards. It’s high time Nollywood scaled past this so called little mistakes, because we are only ruining out shots at standing on world stages and attracting the right investors to our industry.

The Directing
As much as I love some of Desmond’s movies, I get confused a lot by his works. Two Desmond Elliot movies from 2013 featured on Sodas & Popcorn’s Top 10 Nollywood Movies Of 2013 and they were really good. Same Desmond Elliot had two of his movies on Our Worst movies of the year. It’s pretty sure this movie has made it into the latter list for 2014.

Reports have it that Emem Isong was given 55 million naira to make this movie. We have often blamed lack of resources and investors for the many poorly made Nollywood movies. This is understandable, but how do we defend a movie with this kind of budget? What exactly went wrong?

The character development, script writing and directing reflected nothing of the budget reportedly dropped for this movie. Only good thing about this movie in my opinion was the make up, costume design and the filming location.

Some flaws I spotted in the technicalities in the movie included the unnecessary fast forward dolly effects accompanied with some irritating sound effects. I guess this was supposed to enhance the scenes but in the end, it ruined them for me. We are not Bollywood you know.

Why couldn’t a new born baby or a doll or something have been gotten to depict Apaye’s first child? Why was a child that looked almost 2 years of age used? A very tall child at that! Why was Apaye, played by Belinda Effah as a young lady speaking queen’s English? Aterall she never went to school and grew up in the Bayelsa Creek. Even Idris Elba who looks nothing like Mandela and sounded nothing like him had to train his voice to sound like him. Or should we talk about Daniel Day Lewis’s performances as Butcher in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York( deep voiced) and Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln (soft cracked voice)?

The Acting
Rumor has it that Clarion was paid 10 million Naira for this movie. Well, all I can say is why? She gave a few good performances in the movie, but her acting was very scripted. We know it’s a biopic but do you have to face the camera to tell a story like ‘Tales By Moonlight’?

None of Apaye’s children, except Mbong Amata gave an impressive performance. The scene by the river where she was going to Port Harcourt was the biggest laugh I had. One of her sons was chewing gum while the others were crying (extremely fake tears by the way)

Kanayo O Kanayo, Mbong Amata and Belinda Effah were mostly impressive to me and gave satisfactory performances.

The Verdict
Bluntly, nothing impressed me about this movie. This movie is so bad, nothing amazed me about a great woman’s life. A story about a woman who raises 6 kids in Niger Delta and experiences the civil war should be more impressive than Pursuit Of Happyness. But this is just a laugh out loud joke. Sadly, I see this movie winning an award or two. *Sigh*

It ‘manages’ to get a Traffic Popcorn.

Sodas & Popcorn Rating1This review was brought to you by Award winning movie blog. We Watch Movies So You (Don’t) Have To.

Review by @don_sylvestre for @sodas_popcorn

Thanks for reading. Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Please drop your comments in the box below.


  1. @edDREAMZ

    April 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    This movie has really been making wave around africa and desmond really did a great job…..

    • vee

      April 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm


    • Bimpe

      April 9, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Lmao @vee good question oo…. Pls help us ask

    • BeautifulOyinye

      April 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Yes and its a great movie! I don’t know what the ‘reviewer’ was on when he/she watched it! But then different strokes for different folks!

  2. SisterFaith

    April 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Your reviewed is so flawed! First of all if YOU, Mr Reviewer had done YOUR research you would have known this movie was a docu-drama.. a real story about some one (Elder Irene Yepayeye Uriah) who actually lived. All scenes in the movie really happened! The movie was very long when first shot… originally over 3hrs so it was obviously edited to what was screened in the cinemas. The full version will be in the dvd. I could pick holes in your ‘review’ one by one but I will not bother because it is obviously tainted with shade. Alot of your ‘facts’ typed here such as cost & amount paid to producers & actors are completely erroneous for one … I will however say that If you go to the cinema to find flaws in a movie you will find them, (even in the Big budget Hollywood films.) Apaye was a labour of love to a woman that inspired many in her little part of the world… so much so some people deemed it fit to do a story on her story on her life. If only one person is inspired by the movie, her life’s work is done and the sponsors are happy. Apaye has run her race & has gone on to glory… what about you? What do you have top pass on to posterity? What is your legacy? That in a nutshell is the message of Apaye and it’s more important & more powerful than what any ‘reviewer’ might have to say. *DropsMic

  3. nene

    April 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    clarion paid 10 million? she’s worth it but i know she doesn’t earn that much. nobody in hollywood earns that much. as for the reviewer, i have had some issues with some of your reviews, but i haven’t watched this movie, but i think i might agree with you a little on this review because emem isong’s movies have been boring for a while now. her last good and interesting movies were Games Men Play and Reloaded (not sure if i got the name, but the movie that lunched Nse Ikpe Etim into the spotlight).

    • Vougie

      April 9, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      I see Nene is back on her broomstick! Na wa o! you no dey sleep for Emem matter o! Always commenting on things that have to do with her… Eme is always boring… ehn…do your own film and make it interesting make we see. #GodIsWatchingYouIn3D!

    • hey

      January 1, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Clarion might nt be living on movies only,,most actors n actresses dnt live only on wat dey get frm their career coz it dsnt pay much..dey r all involved in other businesses dat might nt be public..besides Clarion’s son is very rich,,into music videos for very very top artists n can support his mum..

  4. Flame

    April 12, 2014 at 9:27 am

    It’s obviously a personal issue for @SisterFaith. Well for the review- since I’m most likely not seeing this, I won’t talk much on it. I’ll however say since Nollywood is the 2nd movie-producing industry in the world, we have to start critiquing our local movies in comparison with the highest standard – especially if the budget is that high. I trust the reviewer to do this. Well done.

  5. kina

    April 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I don’t understand what is up with Emem Isong and her team these days. Its just an all round mess from that RAA team. If you guys are so lazy to write a good script why not contract it to someone else to do the damned job while you focus on producing. just poor/lazy writing from weekend getaway to forgetting june to lagos cougars, now this. and she keeps getting monies to make SHIT is what pisses me off. When people are sha ignorant of what cinema should be.

    Take a wild guess why they got so many AMAA’S? amAA’S SPONSORED BY THE BAYELSA GOV, film made in bayelsa about a bayelsan woman…..make amaa try am no give them nomination na…. whether they will receive funds again.

  6. Jauntelligence

    May 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Whoever wrote this review, I must confess lives inside of me. I expected so much from this movie but I couldn’t get anythin from it. Emem Isong, pliz go back to the old you, pliz give me back the Emem Who wrote GMP , GWP, Emotional crack, critical Decision, those were movies . imagine Mbong Amata was said to be pregnant, and nothin was said of it, did the baby disappeared? little details where missin in this movie, I wonder why it made it to the cinemas cos movies like should be released straight to dvd!

  7. sumbury

    January 2, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Yesso,let”s nt blame huever reviewd d movie…d movie was one I enjoyed,i liked d environment dt was usd,bt dn it wasn’t realistic enough..the person z actually right…….a baby really older dn a day old baby was christened,i mean,really?!!!!!,dn wen apaye was travelling to PH,wat do I see?,one of her sons was jst chewing gum instead of being sober bt dy reallly tried in d movie..twas a gud one,i wud have enjoyed it more if it was realistic,…

  8. ib salami

    January 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I intentionally set out to look if anyone had reviewed this movie and i cared to know what was generally said, and how Nollywood and its watchers perceived themselves.
    WOW, this is an impressive review to the Tee. It bothered me that for so much money spent that this could be the outcome. i just endured the movie to say the least. Finally and unfortunately judging by the reviews the first improvement Nollywood needs is in the quality of its viewers to demand quality and not cheap sentiments attacking reviewers.

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