Art

Why ‘Mid-life crisis’ was worth the wait

cast

'Midlife Crisis' cast (L-R): Kauthar Kang’ethe, Nyawira Alison, Ruth Maingi, Director Zippy Okoth and Suki Wanza at the premiere of the film at Kenya National Theatre. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • It’s an intimate, earthy and uproarious look deep into the lives of four Kenyan women who have been friends since university, almost two decades back.
  • Midlife Crisis is being screened at Anga IMAX Diamond Cinemas at 5pm, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 1. Also 3pm Wednesdays.

Mid-life Crisis’, Zippy Okoth’s first full-length feature film, finally premiered last Saturday at the Kenya National Theatre. We’ve been waiting for it since March, but due to Covid-19, it had to be postponed until now. But it was well worth waiting for.

It’s an intimate, earthy and uproarious look deep into the lives of four Kenyan women who have been friends since university, almost two decades back.

A brilliant, bouncy blend of humour and misery, extravagant emotions and revelatory moments, the film stars four of Kenya’s finest actresses, who were deftly directed (and produced) by the film’s creative genius, the award-winning Dr Okoth.

Co-written with Suki Wanza who is one of the four stars featured in the film, the story is initially about Gigi (Ruth Maingi), a high-powered executive who has got a silent heartbreak that she has kept secret even from her BFFs until now.

It’s crazy Colette (Alison Nyawira) who detects Gigi’s misery and rallies Alice (Suki) and Rina (Kauthar Kang’ethe) to come to Gigi’s aid and also party in the process.

As it turns out, all four are nursing secrets of their own which only come out after weepy Gigi admits she desperately wants but cannot have a baby of her own.

That’s not a problem for the other three: Alice has four kids (but an unsatisfactory marriage), Rina, who’s self-employed and happily independent, has three, while Colette, a divorcee, has two who she hates raising alone.

All the women have other ‘midlife’ issues. But don’t expect the film to be ‘therapeutic’ or ‘feminist’ or even unrelated to other Kenyan women’s lives. The banter between the friends, especially after booze and party levity loosens everybody’s tongue, is where the crises in their lives emerge, intermixed with sissy sisterhood.

In fact, all four are financially comfortable. Alice’s spouse is super-rich but often absent and won’t let her work. She’s gone the church-piety way, but she’s got a secret even there. Colette’s got independent means but misses having a man in her life. Meanwhile, Rina’s the pragmatist whose advice to Gigi reflects her fierce independence.

Whether the women’s crises get resolved requires seeing the film to find out. What’s certain is that despite their differences (which are many), there’s love cementing their bonds.

And while Alice has a masterful proposal that might solve both Gigi’s and her own deep-seated problems, what is clear is that the women’s reconnecting has an immensely restorative effect.

Midlife Crisis is being screened at Anga IMAX Diamond Cinemas at 5pm, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 1. Also 3pm Wednesdays.