Men In Love

Men In Love

Nollywood Nigerian Movie Review
Story/ Screenplay – Juliet Chisom Okereke
Director – Moses Ebere
Producer – Kingsley Okereke

Men In Love ~ 2010

Actors and Actresses Starring:
Tonto Dikeh – Whitney
John Dumelo – Charles
Muna Obiekwe – Alex
Halima Abubakar – Flora
Becky Ogbuefi – Pastor
Promise Amadi – Bobby
Ndu Ugochukwu – Cain
Queen Okoro – Tasha

Themes Explored:
Homosexuality
Cheating
Rape
Charms (Juju)

My Rating – 60%

Whitney, played by Tonto Dikeh is married to businessman Charles, played by John Dumelo and they have one son. Throughout the course of their marriage she has had to put up with his cheating ways. It is only when long lost friend Alex, played by Muna Obiekwe comes into his life that his philandering ways appear to end. Whitney believing that Alex is a calming influence on her husband allows him to move into their home. Little does she know that Alex is taking advantage of her husband in the worse way.

************SPOILERS***********

Infidelity

Whitney catches her husband cheating with his secretary and although she cusses at him a little it is the secretary that she viciously attacks with a broken wine bottle. Why do a lot of women do this? Who was it that made a vow to love, obey and be loyal to you? Was it him on her? I wonder oooo!

Whitney’s friend Flora played by Halima Abubakar tells her,

“It is in a man’s nature to cheat.”

Whitney on the other hand does not believe that to be the case and responds,

“There are men in Nigeria who would give up their right arm not to cheat on their wives.”

So which is it? If it is in a man’s nature does that mean that cheating is inevitable especially where there is opportunity?

Homosexuality

Alex tries to gauge Charles opinion on homosexuality by telling him about his chef friend being a homosexual,

“You see even if he wanted to get married in this country you wouldn’t be able to – you see he is gay.”

I was surprised when Alex asked Charles if he had a problem with homosexuality that he replied,

“No, not at all.”

I imagined the typical response from a Naija man would be to react in disgust, however, in saying that times are changing and people are more exposed. Life experience also plays a factor in a situation like this. He may have also acted so positively so as not to cause offence, seeing as he was eating the gay chef’s food.

We find out more about Charles’ feelings in homosexuality when he says to Alex,

“I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be gay. I mean what is the point what is there to gain?”

Do straight people base their sexuality on what there is to gain from it? Charles uses the word want. That is another debate. Do gay people want or choose to be gay? Alex listing the positives on being gay to me was ridiculous. Who sits down and thinks, ok I don’t want to get a chick pregnant, I want to be able to cheat on my wife easier, so AHA! YES! I’ll sleep with a man. How would a straight man decide to sleep with a man for such flimsy reasons? BE REAL. Men sleep with men because they are attracted to them. POINT BLANK.

There was a scene close to the end of the movie where Alex and charles are openly kissing in a restaurant. How likely would this be in Nigeria? They were not the only people in the place and it was not a “gay restaurant.” Even more ridiculous was the camp gay men rolling up to Alex and Charles’ table and causing a big scene, cussing, clapping and whooping,

“boyfriend snatcher!”

The scene was kinda funny but no way can I imagine such a scene taking place in a public place in Nigeria where straight people are onlookers.

Hypocrisy

Charles uses the bible to justify the wrongness of homosexuality. He tells Alex,

“The bible frowns upon the act.”

What a hypocrite! Did your bible tell you to stick your penis into the hole of every woman with a pulse that comes your way? He knows how to quote the bible, but does not quote it in relation to his own ungodly acts. I was glad that Alex made him aware of his own acts of sin,

“Infidelity is also a sin.”

Rape

Alex drugs and rapes Charles, as if the act of raping someone has the ability to change something as innate as sexuality. I swear the way some people think is absurd. What is the joy is having sex with someone that you supposedly like so much if it is not reciprocal. How is having sex with someone while they are out cold going to make them fall in love with you. Well according to this movie IT WORKS. Alex tells Charles,

“I’m sorry I did what I did Ok – we are meant to be together.” BLOODY FOOL.

I am not surprised that Charles did not tell anyone about the rape as the shame of male rape even greater than that of female. I doubt many men would tell for fear of being labelled gay which is a huge taboo in African societies.

Charms (Juju)

Where the whole movie fell apart for me after the rape. Cherles is angry for a very short while and then decides that he wants to be with Alex, even going to his house to apologise. Now tell me how do YOU get raped and then go and apologise? Even if you did decide you like men after the fact, why would you apologise? If anything you would be angry at being turned out.

BULLSHIT. Who gets raped ESPECIALLY by a friend and then says thank you for being hurt? A friend raping you is a HUGE betrayal of trust, one that is unforgiveable to most people. That whole part of the storyline was ridiculous and didn’t ring true for me. From being angry at being raped and tormented about it a few days later you are sitting in your matrimonial home snogging the face off your rapist whom you have now moved in with you? WHATEVER.

At the end of the movie homosexuality is put down to Alex doing Juju on Charles. How bloody typical! Whitney consults a pastor who puts down him sleeping with a man as him being under some “strong satanic bond.” Oh that makes it all alright then! Let me go and rob a bank and tell the police I was under a strong satanic bond. Nonsense. Charms and Juju is always used in these movies to make excuses for people’s behaviour. Men are gay because they like and are attracted to other men, and whomever cannot grasp that concept should build a bridge and get over it.

Tonto tells Charles at the end of the movie,

I knew you could not do that to me.”

Er yes love he did. He made the choice to have an affair with a man. This is how women will continually be stupid blaming things on JUJU. Open your eyes. The blame for continually sleeping with a man lies with Charles and Whitey allowing it to be blamed on Satan takes away the responsibility he has to be faithful and respect his wife. The guy was even useless before he started sleeping with a man. Was it Satan too when he was sleeping with every woman in town?

There was no mention of juju making him unable to curb his sexual appetite with women? Or perhaps that is expected. The pastor of course encourages Whitney to fight for useless sex maniac husband, after all marriage is sacred abi? Whitney’s prayers set her husband free from the bondage of homosexuality.. If only life were so easy. Also helping him return to his wife was the fact that his lover was thrown in jail. I wonder if his lover had not have been jailed if the “satanic bond” might have returned.

Performances by the Cast

Muna Obiekwe looks better and much much cuter since he got rid of that mop he was sporting on top of his head in the last movie that I saw him in HOPELESS TOMORROW. He was very convincing as a gay man. He wasn’t overly camp but just camp enough to make you SAY WHAT? He had enough intensity in his eyes when directing his affection towards John Dumelo to make us believe his desire for him.

Tonto Dikeh gives a very dramatic and passionate performance as Whitney, the wife scorned. In one of the first scenes we see her confront her husband in a hotel room with his secretary. You literally see the veins popping from the side of Tonto’s neck. One problem that Tonto seems to have is that she trips over her words when she is doing a dramatic scene where she is shouting or speaking animatedly. It seems like she just has to slow it down a little and think about what she is saying so that we in turn can understand what she is saying.

I thought that the casting was great for Alex’s friends. They were all at ease with each other and looked and acted exactly as you would imagine a bunch of gay men in a room to. There is a hilarious scene where Charles arrives at Alex’s party and the priceless look on Charles’s face when he realises (after about 5 minutes or so) that the people at the party are all men and obviously GAY.
_____________

Nollywood Forever Say’s What?

Imagine your husband rolling up to YOUR party wearing matching suits with his gay lover? Liberties! That is the height of disrespect. Her friends should have blatantly told her when they found out about his homosexual frolicking in public. At the same time perhaps they didn’t tell her because they knew she would not accept it til she saw it with her own eyes.

I was glad that they didn’t try and cover up Tonto’s tattoo in this movie because all that covering up that they have being trying to do just makes her look as if she has a dirty neck. If they cannot do a proper cover up job. I beg they just leave it alone.

Why was Whitney friend calling Charles “darling” I didn’t think that was appropriate? How a chick up in your house and calling your husband “darling” Naaaa it just doesn’t seem right.

Whitney and her friend’s were sitting around the table eating Alex’s eba and egusi with acrylic nails. All I could think was ewwwww. It puts a plasticky taste in your mouth and all the food with get stuck in the acrylic join in your nails… GROSS!

The Title

I think they should not have called the movie Men in Love. After all charles was simply under a spell and not in love. It should have been called MAN UNDER SATANIC BONDAGE.
____________

Conclusion:
I liked the film and would recommend it. The cast were great and It approached a taboo subject. However to me it would have made more sense if the story revolved around sex addiction and Charles’ insatiable appetite for sex in whatever form it came in rather than him being raped and then turning gay. The part where it fell down for me was bringing the whole juju thing into it. It felt like a bit of a cop out. They decided to make a movie on this taboo subject but then couldn’t go the full way with it. Nevertheless it’s worth watching.

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Comments

  1. Adwoa says:

    I strongly agree with you on everything you stated. I mean men do sleep with each other because they choose to do so. It's isn't because of unwanted pregnancy or what's there to gain. It's a matter of choice.

    AFRICA: Seeing 2 gay men kissing and touching themselves in a restaurant in AFRICA – Nigeria………OOOH PLEASE!!!

    RAPE: I guess Alex loved Charles soo much he needed to rape him to satisfy his needs. I thaught he used juju(charm) on him so why did he have to rape him????????

    APOLOGY: That was nonsense!!!!!!!! I guess it felt so wonderful that Charles needed to apologise for not giving in sooner………..LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How can you quote the Bible about homosexuals when you want to sleep with every woman in town. Are you saying the Bible does not frown upon this act????????

    Imagine when Whitney tells Charles she's pregant, the face on Alex's face and falls down from the sofa……..BULLSHIT……..you are upset because your lover's wife is pregant. That scene pissed me off.

    Whitney's friend with the accent pissed me off too, OMG………what was up with her fake accent???

    I love Muna, Tonto, John and Halima so it was interesting to watch. The story could've been told differently as to why must there be always juju(charm) in nigerian and ghanaian movies?????????????

    • Nollywood says:

      Adwoa *round of applause* you have spoken very well!

      My thing is if you aren't going to tell a story and tell it as it really really is then don't tell it at all.

      I believe the story is always being related to juju because they are scared of how the religous mob will react… Whcih is fair enough but then tell some other story cos I for one am sick of all this juju.

      Granted juju is a feasible theme in African societies… People visit witch doctors and people believe in it as is evident even from the numerous newspaper articles covering the fact in Nigeria… But its getting really overplayed now.

  2. Adwoa says:

    Thanks Nolly!!!!!!!!!

  3. tammy says:

    i enjoyed the movie,

    i must say the best scenes for me were with the gay men!

    great acting,esp from alex's dumped boyfriend.

    i really liked them.

    the rape part was quite silly, and john's character apologising for being raped(lmao)and the juju part was a movie killer. john was already portrayed as a nympho and that story line developed woulda made it a lot more realistic.

    i have the hugest crush on muna obiekwe, but i dont think i can ever see him without thinking of him flirting with john!

    • Nollywood says:

      The movie could have definitely been much better than it was but they opted for the cop out route.

      Can you imagine having a casting call for gay men in Lagos??? I can't even imagine many would go. Number one who knows who will be waiting for you there, number two the way in which you are going to be portrayed will be absolutely atrocious and unrealistic. Is there any point for the peanuts they will throw at you as an extra? Hmm I wonder if many of them were gay.

  4. LARA says:

    so i'm guessing it ended wit tonto getting him bak and blaming everything on juju… the movie could have actually had a potential and they just accepted that he was gay…

    they should research the gay theme before they start coperating gay theme into their movies

  5. Kiki says:

    I have a problem with Tonto's grammar, and wonder if the script writers in all her movies are inept or is Tonto personally responsible for these poorly constructed sentences?

    What in the world does she mean by "there are men in Nigeria who would give up their right arm not to cheat on their wives".

    That doesnt make sense to me.

    One would think that a better sentence would be "there are men in Nigeria who would give their right arm to protect their family".

    Maybe i am just being pedantic…………..carry on.

    Thanks Nolly, very good review as always.

    • Nollywood says:

      With regards to the grammatical construct I believe the blame probably lies on both sides.

      Great point about the way the sentence was put… That is probably what they meant! LOL

  6. Bfkeene says:

    I am a half African man who happens to be gay, I was a little thrown off by the way gays were portrayed in this movie. I think for the most part it is a good movie however, the research on homosexual individuals seems lacking. I don’t believe that someone praying and speaking in tongues would change who I am as a person as did Whitney and the pastor did in this movie. And I don’t find married straight men appealing. I guess I should be happy that the subject is being put out there, however I wish people watching could have a better idea of what it means to be gay. I give the movie a 7/10.

    • Nollywood says:

      I fell like they are just scare mongering. It is also possible that even if film makers do want to show a more realistic protrayal that the marketers won't put it out there.

      You would be surprised at how many people believe that praying can turn you from gay to straight. I had this same very discussion on twitter the other day. They soon people face reality the better for everybody concerned

  7. Seven says:

    The storyline wasn't all that original.

    You have a married MAN who cheats on his WIFE; we later find out that he was charmed by the other WOMAN…SEEN IT!

    In "Men in Love", you have a married MAN who cheats on his WIFE with another MAN and we later find out that he was charmed by the other MAN…Haven't seen it, but it was interesting because the affair in the film was a homosexual affair and as we all know, homosexuality is taboo in Africa.

    • Nollywood says:

      The story was semi original in that it was a man he was cheating with. This whole influx of homosexuality in Nollywood reminds me of the early days of Ricki Lake when she would bring out the person someone was cheating with and they would be *GASP* same sex… the novelty wore off quick.

  8. Seven says:

    Agreed!

    I'm definitely getting tired of this "EVER SO POPULAR"

    STRAIGHT GUY SLEEPS WITH GAY GUY STORYLINE, especially after watching both "Men in Love" and "Mind Game" in the same week.

  9. Seven says:

    "Mind Game" was another Nollywood USA disappointment.

    However, I would recommend "Trinity" starring Nadia Buari and Majid Michel.

  10. Seven says:

    Speaking of Nollywood USA…

    What's your take on "Governor's Gift" starring Tonto Dike and Jim Iyke?

    I read your "Free Giveaway" posting and you said that you'd comment on the movie after the contest.

    The contest is now long and gone…What's the verdict?

    • Nollywood says:

      Oh no I said that I'd comment on the posts but I just decided to do a new post. As for the movie. It was aiiight but I wouldn't watch it again. All these in America movies I'm not feeling as much as the ones set in Ghana or Nigeria.

  11. Tdg says:

    Your critique was candid, and objective. I was surprised, shocked to say the least to see this movie trailer from naijapals. Nevertheless, im proud Nigerians are broad intellectually to tackle these underlying issues that affect us. You said something about a typical nigerian man responding in disgust but times have changed. Well, i graduated secondary school(high school) in nigeria 2007 and went to a military school (mixed). Homosexuality was present, mind you my school is located in a rurral area, so rule out the excuses people give that it's too musch westernization. Tactics like school father and school son relationships back in naij are simple outlets some of these homosexual relations go on. We all knew our Senior prefect for a particular set was fucking his school sons…yea, we knew, did he have girlfriends..a couple. There was a particular boy in school that got expelled for jumping over to girls hostel. too much congi (horny) yet, the same boy was known for sleeping with some boys in our hostel. The hostel babes (they were called, boys who acted feminine) or <> were specially effeminate boys, with female qualities,body-wise,facially and even traits they swayed their hips when they walked, they flipped their hands , hand high-pitched voices and simply preffered feminine things. One in particular was the best traditional dancer, he danced a lot better than the girls and even advanced to their head coach. What's all this for? I don't believe homosexuality is a choice, nor effeminity, even in my primary school days one particular kid Ifeanyi, was a boy-girl, he would wear his sweater around his waist, wave his hands while talking, just what we see here in america. I believe it is like heterosexuality, it is not chosen nor 'preferred'. If so, why are the traits similar and common among different people all over the world. If i hadn't seen these people first-hand I would have joined in the band of ignorants blaming homosexuality on westernization, or as one of my aunts said, inferiority comoplexes… Let these guys be, I feel they are human beings like us. We may not appreciate, agree with them but if you eaat vegetables and someoneelse doesn't why are they wrong? Homosexuality is deep in nigeria, and SA carries the lead, we don't have enough media (or they're not focusing on it) to cover these stories.

    • Nollywood says:

      Hi and thanks for your input TDG.

      You make some very good points. I believe the majority of homosexuals are born that way the way heterosexuals are born that way.

      How many heterosexuals would say that they made the choice to be straight? I can guess that none would so it seems strange that some would think that gay people CHOSE to be the way that they are.

      The whole thing with people thinking that homosexuality in Africa is because of westernisation baffles me. It is only because homosexuality is more hidden in Africa because of the negative repercussions that can occur that alot of people are not that aware of it.

      How would someone be open about who they are when being who they are may very well cause them to be ostracised or even killed!!!

  12. stanley says:

    u got ii all right……u know there have been rumours that there gays in nollywood,but they are dening it.Now they just showed us their is by acting it……kudos 2 u and them………

    • Nollywood says:

      Because you play a homosexual character does not make one gay. I am sure there are gay people in Nollywood just like there are gay doctors, lawyers, waiters and bricklayers.

  13. tope says:

    Aight, so I'm all for LGBTQ rights in Nigeria, it's pips decision and we should all respect it.

    However, I'm sick and tired of the way it is being portrayed in Nigerian movies. I wish there could be a movie about two guys/girls just falling in love and how they try to battle homophobia in society. But noooo, gay people must look desperate and horny in every single movie we produce. Please I'm tired of all this rubbish.

    If you are going to make a point with a movie or break boundaries, please do it tastefully

    • Nollywood says:

      Tope I agree with you. If they are not going to do just a true story representing real life and not some crusading fear mongering then they should just leave it alone.

  14. ebuka says:

    The movie teaches something if you watch it with a little understanding that is not biased

    • Nollywood says:

      What would you say that it taught you Ebuka, because I'm sure everybody will not take away the same message?

      • tayo says:

        What it teaches us is that Gay is wrong. God is against it, our culture is against it period. no matter how much we try to justify it it is sin. though not good to church but lets call a spade a spade.

        • Nollywood says:

          Your culture is against many things that many people in the culture are doing. Everyone is claiming that God told them this that and the other. Ok.

  15. edward says:

    muna and john put up a brilliant performance. They did well without the fear of been called gay by gullible fans who cant differentiate a role from personal characters. Dumelo wore only one boxers althrough the sex scences. Too bad. The movie has continuations. Part 3/4 'secret shadows', 5/6 'love alone'. I hate stretching nigerian films and changing their names. At times, i watch parts 3_4 without knowing before watching 1_2

    • Nollywood says:

      Yes I agree, they played believable gay men. John has since put out a statement after the film condemning homosexuality. He said:

      Yes I did a movie in Lagos. It was a gay movie. In that movie, I was under a spell. My best friend put me under a demonic spell. He then abused me to satisfy his gay pleasures. When you watch that movie, it actually doesn’t promote homosexuality… It regards homosexuality as an evil thing. At the end of the movie, I was prayed for and the demon just came out of me, then I apologized to my wife and family, so it doesn’t mean am gay. It was just to create awareness that people who are actually gay most likely are under demonic spells.

      This statement smells of a bitch move to me. He just got scared of what the backlash would be. It was also a bitch move to put the whole movie down to Juju. Its better they don't cover the topic at all since its so taboo and all.

      Oh and secret shadows is not the continuation. I don't know if you watched it. (I did) but Tonto and John were an estranged couple but Muna was there and not even gay and Halima was Johns ex. It was confusing and stupid.

  16. Brian says:

    Not seen the movie yet cos i'm not so much into nigerian movies. just the occasional one or maybe 1 showed at the cinemas but i'd love to see this one.

    Good criticism by the way. Very thorough.

    HYPOCRISY

    I don't think the conversation they must have had was out of place. i'm on nairaland.com and u need to see the comments pple that claim to be sex machines, cheat on their partners and all sorts, post on gay threads. they start quoting the bible and stuff. if u take a survey on that site u'll discover that gay threads have the highest no of posts with most from "very sinful" heterosexual homophobes. it's just terrible. hypocrisy is everywhere in nigeria.

    CHARMS

    There's a thread on nairaland about how to identify nigerian movies and i recollect someone saying that i'd know it a nigerian movie if someone uses charm to get someone fall in love with them. lol.

    it's so typical and it spoils our movies.

    RAPE/APOLOGY

    I also think it was totally unnecessary. the apology was even more stupid. in real life i think what would have happened was. Alex would go to charles to apologise and when charles starts raving alex would kneel down and grab his hand to slow him down. the would rise up. and move closer to him and the whole atmosphere probably becomes tense and they kiss and blah. that's for the benefit of a movie (it would seem more appropriate) or Charles would hate alex for life. but hey he was under a spell.

    TITLE

    lol @ MEN UNDER SATANIC BONDAGE

    It's been proven that many nollywood actors are gay. i was involved with a small time actor once and it was veery revealing.

    Us gays are here to stay. like it or not. the movies portray it to be brought on by charm but i think i'm attracted to guys just becos they are guys.

    ALL together, good work.

    Peace out.

    • Brian says:

      i meant that the movies (in general) may portray it to be brought on by charm but i can say it's not so. i'm attracted to guys just becos they are guys. some pple became gay or bisexual becos they explored, some are just plain curious. but it certainly is not by charm.

  17. bert says:

    bullshit! homosexuality is both psycho-social and genetic impairement. research carried out in usa has shown possible familiarity of the impairement among gay men but was not accepted because it was not d same for lesbians. i am a boy and i hav a boyfriend! so wat? if am successful and pples survi val depended on me! would dey prefer to die becos am gay!

  18. felix says:

    i love the film

  19. ifeanyi nigtop says:

    I think there is so much daily guys in love experiences in Naija.From guys who sag their jeans daily,to artistes who love showing their abs,to gym loving muscle guys.Social networking sites and message boards are used to find gay love in Naija today.There are also great influence on neighborhoods dominated by travelling European men.Many naija guys will also do it if very well paid.It is deep here.

  20. Tunji says:

    I have not seen the movie, but I am sure that it must have generated a lot of hue and cry from conservative Nigerians who still think that being gay is demonic possession. And that is why you have to forgive the producers of the movie, they are probably bound by a silent oath to blame juju for it, or else their movie might have been banned.

    This movie is not what most people think it is…It was not made to explore the theme of homosexuality in Nigeria, it was made just to fit and juice the imagination of majority of Nigerians who think that homosexuality is unnatural, and anything unnatural to a Nigerian must have a hue of juju around it, or sometimes, demon possession.

    Like I said, I have not seen the movie, but considering the quality of most Nollywood movies, with their directors' penchant for not seeking professional criticism before releasing it, I am sure that there is more to condemn than has being highlighted. I hope there was no hospital scene in it, because that is the most rubbished theme in all Nollywood films.

    Nollywood Producers should let the homosexuality theme alone, because no matter how explicit they make it, it will still be offending to both gay and straight people alike( to gay people, because it is ridiculing a culture, to straight people because most heterosexuals in Nigeria still find the theme of homosexuality disgusting )

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