Yemi Morafa and Fiyin Gambo Prove That There’s Wisdom in ‘The Wait’ On God
If you’ve ever struggled with your faith or felt hopeless in a world that knocks you down till you’re skin and bones, then you would most likely relate to the characters in The Wait. They felt the same way, but their faith in God serves as an anchor, holding them fast so they wouldn’t fall into the darkest pits of despair.
The Wait is a Christian-based story that focuses on different individuals and families whose endurance levels are put to the ultimate test: conception issues, employment issues, physical and mental health problems, insufferable mothers-in-law, and society’s negative view of childless and unmarried women are thematic to the film and its constant wager between the emotional and the parabolic. These themes are crafted so beautifully that it takes you on a pleasurable viewing journey.
The film perfectly captures all the emotions, turmoil, and heartache that come with essentially being human. Life is never easy and the individuals and families you see out there with big smiles on their faces are really just putting on a show. They are struggling on the inside. Nkechi (Ini Dima-Okojie), the CEO of a successful architectural firm has beauty, brains, and an adoring husband that treats her like a queen. She has the perfect life, but behind the scenes, she cries herself to sleep at night because of her inability to conceive. To make matters worse, her mother-in-law, played by Joke Sylva, constantly taunts her for being childless for ten years. That’s a lot for one woman to handle; it is no wonder that she has so many nervous breakdowns.
Nkechi’s experience is not novel; a lot of Nigerian women have walked in Nkechi’s shoes, made to shoulder the burden of ridicule for bareness in the hands of their in-laws. Once a couple has conception issues, the woman is automatically the cause and seen as a “man”. No one ever points a finger at the man because heaven forbid the patriarch in the society has a faulty reproductive system. It is a sad reality.
The women (and man) in The Waiting Room, a support group for women who’ve struggled with issues of conception is the film’s highlight. They boldly explain how heavy the burden of infertility is and how the possibilities of weighing other options of conception like surrogacy and adoption are seen as “unnatural”.
The support group, which is attended by Nkechi, reinforces the need for women to always support one another. It’s not an easy thing to do, but the women in the film do it so well that one would think that they’re related by blood. The Waiting Room is seen as a safe space where they can be free to just be themselves amid the negativity that clouds them.
The scene where a woman tearfully recounts her lone battle with PCOS, with no support from her husband, is so moving that the actors must have surely cried in reality, and not just for the performance.
It is not only the women that suffer from infertility and its effects, men suffer too. Nkechi’s doting husband (Jimmy Odukoya) is privy to his wife’s constant anxiety and nightmares and it makes him increasingly worried, so much so that it gives him anxiety. Bayo, (Deyemi Okanlawon) whose wife has been the victim of five miscarriages has had to deal with her depression, pessimism, and withdrawal from God.
The directors use Bayo as the poster child for the perfect husband because he sticks by his wife through thick and thin, even when she behaves like a spoiled and ungrateful brat. He loves her so much that he starts attending meetings in The Waiting Room in her stead. No one could’ve portrayed Bayo better than Okanlawon because he always immerses himself in his characters so that he becomes one with them. His performances are never half-assed and it is no wonder that he is one of the most sought-after actors in Nollywood.
In all, The Wait stays true to its central message which is constantly restated by the characters. Nana (Nse Ikpe-Etim), an accomplished doctor who is reduced to nothing but an “unmarried, childless woman” by society and her own family put it best when she said, “Hope deferred can make a heart wary, but His hope is an anchor for us all.” The characters’ hope in God is not in vain because He comes through for them and they get their happy endings.
The Wait is new, different, and a breath of fresh air from the usual Nigerian comedies that saturate the Netflix space. It scores high points for its ability to captivate the audience with its message of faith and hope, its audacity to talk about topics that are seen as “peering into the private sphere” and the amazing chemistry between the cast. Everyone understood the assignment and they stuck to the brilliant script written by Tomi Adesina.
The downsides however are its unnecessary longevity (2 hours is excessive), its tendency to drag on to the point of being a bore, and the inexplicable camera shots that distract us from the emotional intensity of scenes.
If you’re in the mood for crying your eyes out whilst waiting for God to answer your prayers, watch The Wait.
Release Date: Cinematic Release: April 30, 2021; Netflix: January 13, 2022
Run-time: 2 hours, 01 minute, and 32 seconds
Streaming Service: Netflix
Director: Yemi Morafa, Fiyin Gambo
Cast: Nse Ikpe-Etim, Deyemi Okanlawon, Jimmy Odukoya, Ini Dima-Okojie, Meg Otanwa, Chimezie Imo, Mike Afolarin, Kunle Remi, Joke Silva, and Kate Henshaw-Nuttal