Lies, Betrayal, and Humor Collide in ‘A Simple Lie’
Biodun Stephen directed the movie whose storyline focuses on the complexities of relationships and how deceit can shatter even the strongest bonds.
A Simple Lie follows the story of a successful but lonely woman, Boma (Bisola Aiyeola), who is willing to do anything to win back the love of her ex-boyfriend, Xavier (Kachi Nnochiri).
Luckily for her, she meets her Xavier after their messy breakup and plans to do everything to entrap him, including telling a lie that she has cancer. Xavier, however, with his own hidden intentions, breaks the news of Boma’s estranged friend, Donna, a life coach (Bolaji Ogunmola) which happens to be an old flame he still nurses feelings for.
Suddenly, an avalanche of uninvited guests storm Boma’s house after she tells a white lie. This triggers a series of catastrophic events that leave a lasting impact on the characters and the movie’s plot.
The movie is centered around the five main characters, each with their own hidden secrets that unravel as the story progresses. The majority of the film’s scenes are set in one location, which could have easily become monotonous if not handled skilfully. However, Biodun’s deft touch ensures that each scene remains engaging and captivating.
A Simple Lie can captivate and maintain the attention of its viewers throughout its runtime. It successfully delivers as a good comedy and does not falter in this aspect until the very end. However, one aspect that falls short is how the reactions to the revelations of certain secrets do not convey the same intensity as the secrets themselves. Despite the humor imbued around the characters, which is sure to elicit laughter from viewers, little or no attention is given to the characters’ reactions to the climactic strings of events.
Additionally, many of the secrets revealed revolve around almost one single element, sex, which can become exhausting at a certain point.
One of the few non-sexual secrets revealed in the film is the revelation that Azeem (Emmanuel) assaulted Donna once. Although the reveal is intense, it quickly loses its impact and is overshadowed by yet another secret being exposed. The reactions of the characters to the secrets are short-lived and fail to evoke the proper emotion from the audience.
Nevertheless, the movie’s natural comedy, which doesn’t feel forced, is a major highlight. The casting is another element that makes the film worth watching. Bisola Aiyeola once again demonstrates her talent and acumen to play dramatic roles. Her performance is commendable, but she is not the only standout in the movie. Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, also known as Kiekie, who plays Boma’s friend, Fade, comes across as the life of the party and a chatterbox figure. She turns out to be the most memorable character in the movie.
Many of the movie’s comedic parts revolve around her, but she does not project an overwhelming presence while always managing to hit the right notes in the unfolding drama.
The plot seemed feeble and lacking in originality, with a pattern of predictable and implausible revelations becoming repetitive after just a few outbursts. The direction of the story became evident at certain junctures, making the outcome easy to anticipate.
Furthermore, the fact that all the characters were gathered in one place at the same time doesn’t give off a natural vibe. On no occasion will people who have dirt on each other agree to be in one place at the same time, while even talking rudely to each other while being aware that their secrets lie in each other’s hands and can be spilled at any time.
Despite all the revelations, there wasn’t much action from the characters after a few shouts, looks of shock, and some punches. Everyone was quick to simmer down, and no one was threatening to bring down the roof of the house despite all that was shared. Even for Donna and Azeem, who were married, at no point did either of them threaten to leave the marriage despite all the cheating and scandals that were revealed.
Also, the movie’s conclusion was rather abrupt and inconclusive, leaving viewers with a sense of uncertainty. After all the secrets had been exposed and the characters’ dirty laundry was out in the open, the following questions remain unanswered: What would be the fate of these characters? Will they be able to forgive each other and move on? Will their relationships be irreparably damaged? Can Boma and Xavier rekindle their love after all that has been revealed? And what about Boma’s family members who had rushed to her side in the belief that she was seriously ill? These loose ends leave the audience to ponder the possible outcomes long after the movie has ended.
Despite all its flaws, A Simple Lie is still a good film that delivers on its comedy and keeps viewers engaged throughout its runtime. It serves as a reminder that sometimes the simplest lies can have devastating consequences and that honesty is always the best policy. With some improvements to the plot and better execution of some of the dramatic moments, A Simple Lie could have been an even better movie. Nonetheless, it is still worth watching.
Release date: 7 April 2023
Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes, 1 second
Streaming service: Netflix
Director: Biodun Stephen
Cast: Bisola Aiyeola, Bolaji Ogunmola, Kachi Nnochiri, Emmanuel Ikubese, Bukumi Adeaga-Ilori, Blessing Jessica Obasi, and Biodun Stephen.