A Sunday Affair poster

A Sunday Affair, Reviewed: A Stumbling Story of Romance & Tested Friendship

Despite characters that are not fully realized, and a convenient central dilemma, Dakore Egbuson-Akande and Nse Ikpe-Etim serve the strength of connection between women.
2.5/5
A Sunday Affair, Reviewed: A Stumbling Story of Romance & Tested Friendship

When a teenage Uche blows off a boy for her best friend a few seconds into the first act of A Sunday Affair, insisting, “There’s going to be other guys, Toyin, but there’s only one us,” the sentiment, like the film’s title, is a bit on the nose, but well appreciated because few things can threaten the relationship between women like the rakish smile of a tall, dark man. Later, when said tall, dark man, Sunday, does manage to lodge himself between these two, now grown women, anyone’s feminist senses tingle, because will these friends continue to choose one other in spite of finding the same Right Man after equally unlucky experiences with love?

The premise of Mo Abudu’s new EbonyLife film promises to be an entertaining, if not thoughtful, look at a tested friendship, and the way the bonds between women either accommodate or square off against romance. Instead, this potential is sometimes botched.

Dakore Egbuson-Akande’s Toyin is the voice of reason of the duo, the sensible one who’s had it with men and their antics. Uche, on the other hand, played by Nse Ikpe-Etim, takes a more licentious approach, and prefers married men. It is at Uche’s sister’s wedding that they both meet Oris Ehruero’s Sunday for the first time, half-brother to the groom who’s recently returned to Nigeria from the US. Toyin is unimpressed — he has a wife and daughter who are also present at the wedding — but Uche and Sunday hook up during the reception.

Sunday is interested but then retreats when he witnesses her relationship with the older man who funds her gallery. Unknown to Uche, Sunday has also scaled Toyin’s defence and the two are building attraction. Unbeknownst to either woman, they fall for the same man.

While Oris Ehruero’s delectable jawline is enough to make any woman swoon, he does not quite realize the magnetic but complicated, guy-that-you-hate-to-love allure the film wants you to gobble up, and we’re left baffled at how easily he charms two impressive women. It would have made a much more interesting watch if he were worth the trouble.

Egbuson-Akande and Ikpe-Etim have palpable chemistry as best friends but not quite enough as lifelong ones. Skilled as she is, Ikpe-Etim does not do much with her character, which is particularly gutting because her take on Uche, a woman living on her own terms but who continues to yield power to the men in her life, could have been veered in a brilliant direction. Perhaps the writing is to blame on Egbuson-Akande’s part, but her Toyin is the victim of an unremarkable performance — good enough that you hope for her happy ending, but flat enough that it does not quite tug on your heartstrings when things go awry.

Despite a story that stumbles, characters that are not fully realized, and a central dilemma conveniently, and curiously, shrouded by the heartbreaking news revealed halfway into the film, A Sunday Affair is a worthy testament to the strength of connection between women, with gleaming but pensive shots lending to the bittersweetness of the film.

It hardly achieves anything ingenious, but a heartwarming and admittedly unpredictable story does emerge, of two women reeling from personal tragedies, who save one another in the end. Still, with all its ingredients of success, and the female sensibility typical of Mo Abudu’s work, it could have been something much better. ♦

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More Film Reviews from Open Country Mag

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La Femme Anjola, Reviewed: An African Neo-Noir Titillates in Crime and Lust

Swallow, Reviewed: Perturbance in Ordinary Lives

Ife, Reviewed: Lesbian Love in Bourgie Lagos

— Nne, Reviewed: Two Mothers and a Son

— The Men’s Club, Reviewed: A Charming Depiction of Male Friendships

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Paula Willie-Okafor, Staff Writer at Open Country Mag

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