A Fire in the Rain is a 2017 film produced and directed by Eneaji Chris Eneng. It is written by Nkechi Okere and Tunde Apalowo and stars Deyemi Okanlawon, Yvonne Jegede Fawole and Bolanle Ninalowo.
It establishes by its first scene that Ifeoma (Jegede) is a single mother and that her daughter, Amaka is nearly 14. We also realize that Amaka’s father, Emeka is alive and well and that Ifeoma still cares about him.
Fire in the Rain gets moving, and by the second scene, the conflict has been introduced: Amaka is going to die in three weeks. Emeka (Okanlawon) and Ifeoma are in grief and it shows, but they must be strong for their little girl. They are also conscious of their separation and this is portrayed well.
Then the flashbacks begin and our heads start to wobble. Flashbacks are a brilliant storytelling tool, but there has to be a clear cut distinction between the present and the past or the audience would worry, spend useful enjoyment time figuring it out and get tired, ultimately losing interest. And this is what begins to befall A Fire in the Rain, especially as the flashbacks are of no serious consequence to the plot.
Amaka is just the same in the flashbacks as she is in the present, Ifeoma’s hairstyles are constantly changing so they are a hard indication of past or present, and there is no defined termination of a flash back, only a white flash on the screen at the beginning of it.
We would deal with these for the next 30 minutes, and the overwhelming pathos and a depressing soundtrack that would not end. And we would yawn through this; tired and bored.
Thankfully, things begin to look up again as soon as Bankole (Ninalowo) shows up on the scene. From their eye exchanges, you can tell Ifeoma and Bankole have a secret, and while it is very predictable that it is probably an affair, the audience is still curious to find out.
It gets brighter 30 minutes to the end when we realize there really is something to worry about with Bankole, which isn’t just an affair but involves blackmail. It could be better, but it manages to elevate the film from its linearity and gives it a decent climax.
A Fire in the Rain enjoys good performances from all its acts: Deyemi Okanlawon does a lot with his face, Yvonne Jegede gets better and Bolanle Ninalowo kills it. But for them, the viewer would not make it past the first 30 minutes.
Child actor Kelly Ochonogor does a good job as Amaka, even though there is not the slightest resemblance between Amaka and both her parents; Amaka is light-skinned, Ifeoma and Emeka are very dark.
We cannot but wonder also, why she would be asking about menstruation at 14. Children are taught this thing in schools in JS1, which is usually between ages nine and 11.
The screenwriters are unable to strike a consistent balance with her character, as one moment she is too smart, the next she is too naïve for her age.
An attempt to get the audience teary fails when Ifeoma tells Amaka’s story of how, at eight, she stated her desire to be a doctor. Apart from the fact that lines such as this are worn, there is no correlation between that and what is said next. It is a line that struggles in a bid to appeal to sentiments. It misses.
Fire in the Rain is fair. It passes a message on love, how it is able to withstand anything, and how it can be born in the worst of situations. It isn’t exceptional and doesn’t try to be. And while less can be more, it drags its simple story too long it becomes typical.
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