Jealous Heart

African Movies Review

An Emem Isong Screenplay

Jim Iyke – Dr Tayo Phil
Rita Dominic – Nkiru
Olu Jacobs – Papa (Mr Ukono)
Nneka Chris – Sylvia
Ini Ikpe – Adaeze

Themes Explored:
Assimilation and Acculturation
Divorce and Step-Families
Stigmatisation of the disfigured and physically disabled
Power of forgiveness



A spolit brat returning to her Nigerian Homeland in order to begin her university studies. For the past 6 years she has been living with her mother, who is divorced from her father, in the USA. It can be seen just how far removed Nkiru is to Nigerian ways and customs when she arrives at her father’s house from the airport with her boyfriend from America in tow.

Even though she is pre warned by her cousin Sylvia that her father will not allow a man to stay in the house with her, she does not take heed of her advice and asks him anyway. Of course he is outraged and promptly orders her boyfriend Michael out of the house.

Before Nkiru left for America she and her cousin Sylvia, who grew up in the same house and is like a sister to her and were extremely close. The relationship on her return starts out promising but ultimately sours. Nkiru mocks Sylvia and calls her “boring” and “stiff” for refusing to wear the tight revealing clothes that she bought for her in the States.

One night Nkiru begs Sylvia to go to a friend of her boyfriend’s party with her as she does not want to go alone. Initially Sylvia refuses, not really being into the party scene, however after much persuasion she gives in. It is this night that signifies the start of their soon to be tumultuous relationship spurred on by jealousy.

If you have not watched this film you may want to stop reading here.


The basis for her jealousy is unfounded. At the party that Sylvia initially refused to go to Nkiru becomes upset because her cousin is receiving a lot of attention from men, plus the fact that her cousin really lets her hair down and has a good time. She expected her cousin to be ignored and have a rotten time. When they get home Nkiru attacks her cousin calling her “deceitful” for saying that she didn’t want to go to the party, but then enjoying it. She is also paranoid that Sylvia is trying to “snatch” her boyfriend. Slowly Nkiru’s attitude drives those that are close to her away from her, including her boyfriend, her cousin and her father.

Before you know it Michael, Nkiru’s boyfriend has fallen in love with Sylvia, and confesses his love for her. Despite how badly she has been treated by Nkiru, she refuses to entertain such thoughts and tells him that a love connection between her and him could never be possible because of her loyalty towards her cousin.

His way of trying to woo her had be cracking up,

“C’mon baby. We can’t deny these feelings we have for one another.”Er? Since when did she declare any feelings for him or even act like she liked him in that way at all? The arrogance of some men is astounding!

Let’s talk about Rita Dominic

She is looking slimmer than ever in this film, and it is brought up at the beginning where her onscreen cousin tells her that she needs to eat. Her reply being that being thin is in America. That again ties in with her character’s assimilation into US society. It looks like Rita is taking a leaf out of Genevieve’s book in fighting for the title for the slimmest body in Nollywood!

The other thing that caught my attention was the dance scenes at the beginning of the film. I have noticed that many of the films Rita is in have these long dance scenes set against a reggae or raga background, whether isin the club, bar, at home or wherever, she is always whining down. I wonder if this is her choice or the filmmaker’s choice. Who thinks that she is that much of a good dancer that she is forever dancing in films for no good reason?When the nonsense started again I almost switched off, I was surprised this time that the scene actually was relevant to the film in showing Nkiru’s jealousy of Sylvia. I also haven’t seen Rita smoking heavily in the last few films of hers I’ve watched.

Could this be a new Rita? A Nollywood Production – Nigerian Movie – African Film – Movie

I thought the film was pretty solid, a bit slow in Part 1 but a lot more tension and pace in Part 2 but there was a few things that really hindered the believability factor:

1) Rita Dominic’s over the top acting in Playing Nkiru

I understand that her character was supposed to be bratty but the character was made comedic in the way that she played it which did not fit in with the rest of the film.

2) Nneka Chris playing Rita Dominic’s cousin

They are supposed to be the same age and starting university together. I don’t know how old Eka looks in real life but she looks positively OLD in this film. Definitely too old to be the same age as Rita’s character, in fact it would have been more believable to have her play Rita’s mother.

However Nneka was good in playing the role of someone that is disabled. The film does a good job in highlighting the lower status afforded to both women and the disabled in Nigerian society, as can be seen when Sylvia is sent to be the lawyer for Dr Phil. As soon as she walks into the room and introduces herself as his lawyer he scoffs in disbelief and sends her away. He is angry that the law firm sent him a woman and a disabled one at that, his argument being,

“Who will take you seriously in court?”

She retorts back to him,

“It is my body that is disabled, not my mind.”


I would recommend the movie. It was a good talking point to make people reconsider the way they view and treat people with physical disability. It was a good way to end the film to show Dr Phil falling in love with Tayo. I don’t normally like epilogues at the end of films but this one was ok as they finished it off pretty neatly and then added the epilogue just to give the viewer an update and not to give an integral part of the story.

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  1. […] honest I was not missing her at all. I remember her from another movie involving Emem Isong called Jealous Heart. She is the producer on this movie, and behind the scenes is where she may want to stay. I was not […]

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