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London Film Festival Review: Fifty

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★★★☆☆

Fifty follows a few days in the lives of four Nigerian women. They are doing well in their careers whilst trying to contend with family issues and personal crises.

For the most part, they live in an upper middle-class neighbourhood in Lagos. One is a reality TV star who has a dark secret in her marriage. Another is an obstetrician with a complicated relationship with her daughter.Then there’s the woman who is approaching 50, though manages to become pregnant (and during an affair, too). And lastly, a woman with a long-term illness and a strong religious persuasion.

Twenty-first century Africa is rarely seen onscreen like this, and it's to director Biyi Bandele’s lasting credit that he has made a drama that refuses to conform to clichéd Western-focused views of African life.

Having said this, the pace is too meandering, occasionally to a patience-testing extent and the production values would make an episode of Hollyoakes seem cinematic. Nevertheless, this is an interesting piece of work and one that handles a large group of female characters of varying ages in a much better way than most Hollywood products that hit our screens.  

Fifty will screen at the BFI London Film Festival this October. General UK release is to be confirmed at a later date.




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