Biodun Stephen follows up a ‘A Simple Lie’, which dropped in late March, with ‘Strangers’, in her catalogue of 2022 movies

Strangers

Directed by Stephen, Strangers is features Lateef Adedimeji as Adetola, a character whose younger versions are portrayed by Daniel Bogunmbe and Mide Glover. Loosely based on a true story, this movie also features Bolaji Ogunmola, Bimbo Oshin, Chris Iheuwa, Christiana Oyesiji, and Peter Fatomilola, while Debby Felix and Femi Adebayo also appear. 

Strangers is very much an emotional and cathartic movie. It is a film based on wholesomeness, and emotional uplift, and being based on a true story, it’s less about the destination, and more about the journey in itself. At the very least, it’s about how the journey would define how perception of the destination. 

However, the big flaw with that is how this movie doesn’t quite maintain a lasting emotional foothold on individual situations. Moments that need to be emotionally dealt with, and need to last, don’t do so, and until its climax, much of cathartic element of this movie is heavily shouldered by the acting, and not the film in itself. It does employ a kind of aesthetic to back its sense of emotional release, with decent tone and great music, but something still feels lacking. As a collective, its sense of catharsis works, but it fails to pick its individual moments, and for a movie predicated on the journey, it seems to be too reliant on its destination. 

But if, in that regard, the movie’s writing deserves some criticism, the acting is worthy of commendation. From Lateef Adedimeji, and the other actors that play different versions of the character he portrays, not least Daniel Bogunmbe. From Bimbo Oshin to Bolaji Ogunmola, to Debby Felix; the acting hardly takes a foot wrong. From the emotional to the verbal and non-verbal aspects; from character interaction to character solitude. Strangers is well and truly uplifted by its cast. 

Strangers also does well to let the characters have their time on screen, while not taking the focus away from the central figure. This is a movie about humanity, about the power of coincidence, and sheer goodwill. But this is a movie about Adetola; his ups, his downs, his flaws and strengths; about a boy with little dreams, and a man on the cusp of turning his back on the dream he cultivated and nurtured. 

Strangers, as a faith-based movie, also does well to not convolute itself with mere religious inspiration. It’s easy to fall into that trap with movies of this ilk, but this movie doesn’t. Even the moments of inspiration that require little materialism don’t get sucked into any partisan religious mantra. It just is. 

Strangers is by no means flawless, but those drawbacks can be deemed to be besides the point. If the development of the main character was expedited, it didn’t make it non-existent. If the movie doesn’t pick the right moments and scenes to be fully cathartic, it’s still quite emotional, and visibly so. There’s an asymmetrically flawed wholesomeness to this movie, and it doesn’t just work, it hits the right spots. 

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