Sometimes it is not good to listen to your mother-in-law, especially when you, as a couple, have made peace with those things that are not working in your relationship. In the film Mother of George, directed by Nigerian filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu, Adenike and Ayodele are proud newlyweds who are satisfied with their marriage even though they have not been able to bear children. It has been 18 months. All is well. Adenike takes a homemade lunch to Ayodele at his job; he appreciates it. They enjoy each other’s company at the dinner table and during intimate moments. Mother-in-law Ma Ayo Balogun (played by Bukky Ajayi) dangles in front of the couple the old world tradition of “keeping the blood in the family” since her daughter-in-law has not borne her son, who shall be named George. Her interference runs counter to Adenike’s and Ayodele’s marital comfort, and Adenike is coerced to make a decision that will either destroy or strengthen her family.
Set in Brooklyn, New York, ‘Mother of George’ is a richly textured film—to call it beautiful cannot begin to describe its wonder. From its opening sequence to the very end, Dosunmu splashes the screen with broad strokes of brilliant colors and splendiforous fabric that stir the senses. Bradford Young, who treats audiences with his brilliant cinematography in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, again weaves his magic as he enfolds each character in layers of brown, blues, golds, lime greens, and white. These are necessary since at times Mother of George is overwhelmed by brooding and silence. Danai Gurira and Isaach de Bankole are to be commended for their portrayals of Adenike and Ayodele respectively, bringing to their characters an innocence that has been compromised by tradition.
Mother of George plays through December 19 at The Ross.
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