Movie Review: ‘Flaws’ tackles Mental Illness

Director: Dabby Chimerie

Writer: Dabby Chimere

Cast: Daniel K. Daniel, Daniella Okeke, Ndee Amaugo, Mercy Macjoe, Jorge Blaq

Year: 2017

Mentall Illness is not the kind of problem you complain about to just anyone, especially in Africa, in fact, many dismiss it. The only type of mental illness we acknowledge is the one we describe as “mad” where people with mental illness make the street their home; they wear rags all day and feed from the waste bin. That is what most people in Nigeria know as Mental illness any other type is waste of excessive energy, we don’t have the time for it, despite the many suicide stories we have heard, despite the relatable stories we have heard, we choose to ignore mental illness and very few films have tackled this problem. For example Moses Inwang tackles mental illness in 2013 “Torn” and then in 2016, he tackles mental illness in “Stalker.” Patience Oghre also makes an attempt with her 2016 thriller “The Novelist”, the most impressive attempt at tackling mental illness is perhaps the engaging “Flaws” formerly titled Obsessed.

Jane is a young woman suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. According to the America Psychiatric Association, Histrionic people are very lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious. All these attributes are cool but they are also trouble especially when directly linked to Histrionic personality Disorder, it is characterized by a pattern of excessive need for validation, excessive attention seeking emotions, usually beginning in adulthood. It also includes inappropriately seductive behaviour. This is what we see with the character of Jane (Daniella Okeke). She is a wife that is unsatisfied with her marriage and is desperately seeking the attention of her neighbour Ken (Daniel K. Daniel) who is married. Ken is abusing his wife Berna (Mercy Macjoe) and she finds succour with Jane until she realises that Jane is not all she pretends to be.

In the first scene we are introduced to Jane, she brings food to her neighbour Ken, his wife collects the food and later she finds out that Ken is married. Even though bringing food to Ken is something she has been doing even before his marriage, his marriage and the presence of a wife does not stop her. She craves for his attention. She pleads for it by constantly bringing him food and eventually causing a rift between Ken and his wife. It takes a psychologist to notice that Jane is not alright. That her motive is not of a spiteful, jealous woman but of a woman with mental issues and they find a way around this problem. The film features the theme of domestic violence but this is not fully explored. It could have been a bonus if along with mental disorder, the domestic violence we see play out is tackled. The writer plays it safe with the issue of domestic violence but triumphs when taking us through the experience of a mentally ill woman.

Dabby Chimerie does a good work of bringing to the fore a very important conversation that we don’t have properly and even though she refers to the problem Jane suffers from as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a little more research shows that it is deeper, it goes above that but she does a good job of starting a conversation on mental illness. Films are there to enlighten us and every detail is important for those that will live by what they see on screen, for those that will not bother to go further than what they see on screen.

Daniella Okeke is the star of “Flaws”. She plays the character of Jane effortlessly. It is beautiful to see Daniella in all her glory as a fantastic actress and not as the woman with the fine body causing excitement online. Her performance in “Flaws” is proving that she can deliver a fine performance with the right script.

‘Flaws’ earns 8/10 from Xplore

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