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“It Blooms in June” Delivers a Well-Intentioned, But Underwhelming Coming-of-Age Story

This Nollywood drama, which is about a sheltered teenager’s journey toward independence and the strained bond with her widowed father, struggles to cultivate emotionally resonant characters and narrative.
April 30, 2024
3:59 pm
It Blooms In June

The title “It Blooms in June” evokes imagery of a blossoming romance or a character’s personal growth unfolding with the changing of the seasons. Unfortunately, this coming-of-age drama from director Korede Azeez never quite manages to live up to those lofty narrative promises. While the film has its heart in the right place, exploring the dynamics between a grieving father and his sheltered teenage daughter, it struggles to cultivate an emotionally resonant story or characters that truly blossom.


The plot follows Mira Akande (Susan Pwajok), who has been raised solely by her widowed father Lanre (Femi Jacobs) since the tragic loss of her mother. Their cozy, insular existence is upended when a new neighbor family, including the young Ebisinde (Kem Ajuh) and his single mother Joana (Kiki Omeili), moves in next door. As Mira begins spending more time with the curious Ebisinde, her overprotective father grows increasingly wary of their relationship.


On paper, this setup has the makings of a heartfelt exploration of a teenager’s journey toward independence and self-discovery, with the strained father-daughter dynamic providing compelling dramatic stakes. But Azeez’s screenplay, co-written by Gabriel Odigiri, struggles to fully flesh out this premise in a way that feels organically tied to the characters’ emotional journeys.



Too often, the film settles for well-worn coming-of-age clichés and predictable plotting rather than taking the time to dig deeper into the specific personal and cultural nuances shaping Mira and Lanre’s relationship. The dialogue frequently feels like it’s hitting beats of emotional growth and familial conflict without investing the necessary dramatic weight or subtext to make those moments genuinely resonate.


The pacing is also oddly lethargic, with scenes unfolding at a leisurely, meandering pace that can test the audience’s patience. While it’s admirable that Azeez wants to capture the mundane rhythms of everyday life, the film often veers too far in the direction of aimless drifting rather than generating narrative momentum.


That said, the film does boast some strong individual performances that help elevate the material. Femi Jacobs is a standout as Lanre, bringing a convincing emotional vulnerability to this well-meaning but overbearing father figure. Jacobs finds the right balance of gruff warmth and suppressed grief behind Lanre’s protective shell, making him a layered, sympathetic character.



Kiki Omeili also delivers a memorable turn as the graceful, amiable Joana, who serves as a calming presence and gentle foil to Lanre’s more chaotic anxieties. The chemistry between Jacobs and Omeili hints at more compelling dramatic territory the film could have explored regarding adult interpersonal relationships and evolving family dynamics.


Unfortunately, the central teenage romance between Mira and Ebisinde never quite sparks to life in the same way. Susan Pwajok’s performance as the sheltered Mira is admirably naturalistic, but the character lacks the necessary depth or agency to truly drive the narrative. And Kem Ajieh Ikechukwu struggles to infuse Ebisinde with much more than generic “first love” clichés.


Ultimately, “It Blooms in June” feels like a well-intentioned yet underdeveloped coming-of-age story that never quite blossoms into anything more than a series of familiar tropes and half-realized character arcs. The film’s aesthetic sensibilities are polished, with a warm, naturalistic visual palette complemented by an appealing soundtrack. But the narrative itself rarely transcends its own predictability.



In an era of increasingly assured and emotionally resonant Nollywood coming-of-age stories, “It Blooms in June” ends up feeling like a middling, milquetoast entry in the genre. The core themes and dramatic conflicts are solid, but the storytelling never quite figures out how to meaningfully translate those ideas into a fully compelling cinematic experience.


One gets the sense that with a tighter, more focused script and more time spent fleshing out the inner lives of its characters, this story could have yielded a much more impactful, layered exploration of adolescence, grief, and the complex bond between parent and child. As is, the film feels like an unfinished sketch−a promising premise that never fully coheres into a satisfying whole.


While “It Blooms in June” may prove palatable enough for viewers seeking a gentle, unchallenging drama, those craving a truly resonant coming-of-age tale would be better served exploring the more assured, emotionally gripping work being done elsewhere in the contemporary Nollywood landscape.


Release Date: February 23, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, and 32minutes

Streaming Service: Prime Video

Director: Korede Azeez

Cast: Femi Jacobs, Kiki Omeili, Kem Ajuh, and Susan Pwajok

TNR Scorecard:


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