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The Man of God, Nigerian Netflix movie Review—How do you present a Christian Story to the secular world?

As I sit before my laptop, for a writer, I’m short of words to relate the emotions I felt during the movie “The Man of God”, which was directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters. But I can tell you that I watched the trailer and went “Yass!” The retelling of the story of a prodigal son coming back home is something any Christian would want to see. And, so far, Netflix productions in Nigeria have been more of trials and errors, i.e. some flops, some hits. See the trailer below:

The Man of God Trailer

Movie plot of The Man of God

The movie starred Akah Nnani, Osas Ighodaro, Atlanta Bridget Johnson, Eucharia Anunobi Ekwu and others I’ll mention as the review progresses. The man of God started with the story of little Samuel (played by Akah Nnani) as he was being trashed by his father, Prophet Josiah, for playing ten-ten while prayer was going on in his deliverance church.

Little Samuel did not take the beating like a pastor’s child who understands that a parent who doesn’t want a spoilt child won’t spare the rod. He resented his father so much that in the pain of the whipping, he promised his mother that he would leave home one day and not return.

 The next scene shows a grown-up Samuel at the University. The pastor’s son has put that identity behind him and was pursuing a career in performing Afro-Jazz with Bad boy vibes on full display. We see his girlfriend, Rekya(Dorcas Shola Fapson), whom you can nickname “hustler” Then there’s Teju (Osas Ighodaro), a girl with whom he was childhood friends–I remember the little girl praying on the bench with the other little boys. This happened while little Samuel went out for his ten-ten escapade.

So much for being the pastor’s son turn bad boy, Samuel fell in love with Joy, a fellowship-going girl and started attending fellowship, much to Teju’s dismay. The gal had ulterior motives, yeah?

Surprisingly, Samuel was growing on Joy, and she was replicating. Even Rekya couldn’t hold him back–all this while he ignored his mother’s letters, asking him to come back home. But while the seemingly impossible love blossomed, Pastor BJ (Nelson Enwerem) was ready to wake Joy back to her senses and plunge Samuel into a deep depression after learning that she was married to Pastor Zach.

So, now that we are here, I think I should stop spoiling. This movie is about Samuel; and how everything revolved around him till he returned home as a prodigal son.

The Man of God Photo by lassanah Ogbogu

Strong and weak points of ‘The Man of God’ Movie

Hmmph! I sigh. Akah Nnani gave a surprising act. The first time I came across him was on a YouTube channel @Akah and Claire, and I was awed by his delivery of the multi-faceted role he played. This wasn’t the first time I watched Osas Ighodaro, so I was familiar with her acting skills. She also brought her A-game.

Mawuli Gavor didn’t quite get enough lines, but the casting was good. Everyone did bring their A-game, even characters that weren’t necessary. Or what was Shawn Faqua’s business in the movie? Oh, he just popped from heaven and dropped beside the married Samuel? I like Shawn Faqua’s act, but please, unnecessary characters make things quite confusing. And this points out a big gap in the movie. Maybe the movie was rushed, or the director and producers didn’t want a sequel. It seemed like some scenes had to be cut, leaving us to connect the dots of what was happening in the movie.

The cinematography was good, and when it is said that Nollywood is getting better, we are talking about stuff like this. Akah Nnani’s song as a music minister in the church had me laughing. Who sings songs like “E dey choke E dey choke E dey choke”, just to spite Rev. Mrs Gift Asuquo? The Reverend’s only job in the movie was to frustrate Samuel, and madam just gave us back to back with that accent of hers. I was almost rolling with laughter at the way she dissed him before that song performance—sorry, ministration.

The music in the movie was a breath of fresh air, except for some moments when the sound was behaving anyhow, to the point of overshadowing the music.

But one thing baffles me, Samuel’s life in the movie spans decades, but we see not so much difference in the civilization within those decades.

Osas Ighodaro on The Man of God, Nigerian Netflix Movie

How ‘The Man of God’ relates to reality

I was interested in this movie. Like, who just thinks of such a wide topic and makes a movie of it? “Man of God!” aka MOG. If you attend church, you can say a few things about the MOGs you know and if a thread is made on Twitter on this topic, you’ll have to pretend not to have seen some tweets, because people have experiences, both negative and positive.

One thing this movie brought to light is the humanity of people who are lifted higher to oversee a church gathering. Prophet Josiah was human, yet he beat his child so mercilessly for not wanting to live up to his name—Samuel. Or, it could be otherwise. With what perspective will you regard a prophet whose son does not want to walk in the ways expected of him? Ah! Maybe Samuel didn’t just like the prayer points that came from his father’s pulpit.

But the moment Rekya enlightened him that Church could be the best way to make money, Samuel ran around and did all he could to become a self-acclaimed pastor who preached what people wanted to hear.

Spiritual aspects of the movie

You can’t call this a Christian movie based on the template of existing Christian movies in Nigeria. Samuel’s university days were filled with the baddestboy lifestyle you can imagine, and this can be seen through the kind of language he exchanged with Rekya. But you also cannot deny the spiritual aspects of the movie. 

On some occasions, we see moments where Samuel’s Christian foundation interfered with his bad boy lifestyle. No matter how far he strayed, Bible verses kept haunting him. Even though some things didn’t add up in the movie, this movie is a good start on how to present undeniable Christian realities to the general public. I saw The Man of God with a curious mind and was really impressed. Oh, how I cried at the end when Samuel reunited with his family at the church. (Dabs handkerchief on impending tears.)

Conclusion on “The Man of God”

People don’t fail to point out the errors in the movie because all they’re looking for is how it’s going to conform to what they already know Nigerian Netflix or Nollywood movies to be. For instance, in the end: people were looking for the big bang. In real movies, Teju wasn’t supposed to get away with reporting her husband to the police. In fact, she was not supposed to be able to leave for the police station.

It was as though the writer had missed the period where the intermission was supposed to happen. The traditional movies would turn Samuel into a monster at that moment. He could have just killed Teju, and I can think of more shocking outcomes just to give people what they want—the shock value. I’m not justifying the abrupt end of the movie, but while on the hunt for shocking movies, people miss out on beautiful stories. It’s not every time, gragra.

Word bank

Gragra: Gragra may be defined as a phenomenon whereby people use much force, often more than necessary.

Baddestboy: Baddest is the slang for the superlative of ‘bad’.

E dey choke: “E Choke” literarily means “It Chokes

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  1. Janet

    Welldone..this is my first time reading a movie review…

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