DVD Mother of George

DVD Mother of George
DVD Mother of George
Run time: 107 min
Rating: 6.3
Genres: Drama
Director: Andrew Dosunmu
Stars: Danai Gurira, Isaach De Bankolé, Anthony Okungbowa
Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having trouble conceiving a child – a problem that defies cultural expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save or destroy her family.
Plot Keywords: two word title, punctuation in title, apostrophe in title, character name in title
Country: Nigeria, USA
Release Date: 13 October 2013 (UK)
Box Office
Budget: $750,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $30,000 (USA) (20 September 2013)
Gross: $145,400 (USA) (8 November 2013)


  1. Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having trouble conceiving a child – a problem that defies cultural expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save or destroy her family.

    I saw this movie last night and it still resonates powerfully with me a day later. The story of a Nigerian immigrant newlywed couple and their travails in getting pregnant, there are five things that set that distinguish this film and make it so worth watching: – The lead performances are exceptional. The Cesar winning actor Issach De Bankolé is always good and his wife, played by American-Zimbabwean Danai Gurira, is pitch perfect as a tradition-bound young woman struggling to balance custom and familial obligation with a new country/culture and her own budding ambitions.

    – The pacing of the film is mannered and deliberative, giving the audience a chance to take in the consuming nature of the couple's struggle to have a baby. More European than Hollywood in its timing, the pacing works especially as an antidote to the rapid paced Nollywood films covering similar ground.

    – The use of color in the film, both through cinematography and wardrobe, is both stunning and meaningful. The colors correspond to the Orishas or Youban Gods that slyly provide a subtext and foreshadowing of plot that may be unfamiliar to American audiences, but clever and refreshing to any who have been exposed to the Afro-Caribbean religions for which they are central. Just as Orisha symbols has long been integrated into Catholicism and mainstream culture in places like the Dominican Republic and Cuba (for example, it's the bases of the colorful costumes used by showcases at Havana's Tropicana — the archetype and bases for Las Vegas), they are hidden in plain sight in this film. It's a wonderful added dimension to the film.

    – The characters are beautifully realized. The husband's mother, brother, and brother's girl friend are all complicit in the wife's struggles to have a child and each have their own complex character strengths and flaws. While the dialogue is a bit fallow in places, the characters themselves are not.

    – The sexuality of the film was portrayed in capturing a range of emotions — from martial obligation, to lust and true love. Rarely do we get to see such a range in a film, and rarer still is it captured in a movie by and about Black characters.

    Definitely worth seeing.

  2. "Mother of George" is a film with a strong and interesting cross-cultural message. It's also a film that would probably be seen as a feminist movie–though it is something that can be enjoyed, or at least appreciated, by all.

    The film begins with a wedding–and what a beautiful wedding it is. The guests are all Nigerian Americans and they are dressed in their finest and most color clothing. During the course of the wedding (which takes up a significant part of the film), the new wife, Nike (Danai Gurira) is told again and again how important it is that she have a baby boy as soon as possible. Culturally, there is a HUGE amount of pressure on her–and it's pretty obvious at this point that Nike will have difficulty conceiving. This is made so much worse by her mother-in-law–a very traditional African mother who insists that Nike either become pregnant or her son find another wife! While Ayo (Isaach De Bankolé) is not about to get another wife, he also is bound by masculine expectations and he forbids his wife to get infertility testing and he adamantly refuses to have himself tested. What is poor Nike to do? Well, when she listens to her mother-in-law's plan, it throws her for a loop.

    This film has a lot to say. Yet, interestingly, it DIDN'T have a lot of dialog and managed to say a lot without words. Its theme of women as baby machines and their devaluation by societies is hard-hitting and sad. Equally sad is its way that men are trapped by their machismo. There's a lot to this film–and one that, in some ways, cuts across all cultures. Well worth seeing.

  3. Mother of George begins with a traditional African wedding ceremony which takes place in New York City. The bride and groom are toasted with wishes for a baby boy in the near future which will be named George, in accordance with the groom's mother's wishes. After a prolonged period, the hopeful mother to be does not conceive and she attempts various methods to become pregnant. After more time passes, she visits a fertility specialist, but her husband refuses to be checked out by American doctors. Her mother in law tells her that she should allow her husband a mistress in order to have a child. This idea does not go well, nor the next one of having his brother try to father a baby with her. The movie moves slowly, and while the acting is solid throughout, and the clothing beautiful, I was bored by the time it finished.

  4. An intimate study of motherhood, and fatherhood, within an alternative culture transplanted from Africa to America. As everywhere, cultural pressures lead to choices that have consequences far beyond hopes.

    To be a mother is the most important duty of a wife; so she is told. When Danai cannot fulfill her duty, she seeks solutions both within her heritage and from Western medicine. When she finally succeeds, the choices she has made threaten to destroy her.

    This film is exquisitely photographed and remarkably well acted, especially by Adenike Balogun in the role of Danai, trying her best to do when she believes is right for the husband she loves.

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