Talk about a movie playing it safe, and Adire comes to mind. This two-hour-long movie promised an interesting premise: women with clashing ideologies protecting their space in their community. It wasn’t an entirely new premise, but it wasn’t an overused one, meaning that we expected something moderately fresh and interesting. However, this was a letdown. To be fair, there were moments of heart and fun in the film, but it never became the overall tone of it, despite its potential. Maybe it could have been better if Adire had been developed as a series or, at least, if the ending hadn’t been so rushed, so much so that the central conflict of the movie had a haphazard resolution without any character development at all. This comes across as jarring since that was the purpose of the story to begin with. That could have been forgiven if the movie was fun, at the very least. But we are left with nothing to show after spending two hours in front of our screen, and the following is a recap of how underwhelmed we are.
Why does Adire move to this small town?
Asari has been working for a man named Captain, who has been exploiting her for years. He saved her from the streets, but not to protect her. The captain just wanted Asari to work for him so that he could further his ambitions, and he used her strategically for that. Perhaps they were in love once, or maybe it was all a manipulation by Captain from the beginning. But in the present day, Asari doesn’t hold any such illusions, and all she craves is her freedom. One day, after dealing with a particularly nasty client, Asari decides she has had enough. She tricks Captain and steals her money from him, following which she escapes without a trace. All Asari wants to do is live life on her own terms, where no one is taking advantage of her, and her pursuit brings her to a run-down religious town where the word of the church is the law. The church is run by Pastor Mide and his wife, Sade. The latter lives by the gospel, and any deviation is categorized as a sin by her. Mide is more soft, and he asks her to practice compassion instead of text, but that is rarely the case. There is a girl in the town by the name of Abeni who got pregnant out of wedlock, and she is shunned by everyone, led by Sade. Abeni has a lonely pregnancy, and though the midwives are around her when she gives birth, she is not in good condition. Even Sade comes to Abeni’s bedside during this difficult time, but it is too little, too late, and Abeni passes away. Her child is now being taken care of by the ladies of the church. But what Sade doesn’t know is that her own daughter, Simi, is also pregnant. She wants to abort the baby but is struggling with her decision.
How does Adire become friends with the women of the town?
Asari changes her name to Adire when she comes to town. Initially, all the women hated her because they thought that she was ‘corrupting’ their men. One of the women, Salewa, even goes to her place to pick a fight but starts crying herself when Adire calls her undesirable. To console Salewa, Adire gives her one of her own products and asks her to try it, and that leads to fantastic results for her. When Salewa tells this to the other women, they all flock to Adire’s house for the garments, and soon enough, she becomes their friend. Adire’s house becomes a safe space for all the women, where they can talk about their troubles and lives without judgment and just find unconditional companionship for themselves. But none of this sits right with Sade, who calls Adire the ‘devil’ and the ‘harbinger of corruption.’ When Sade insults Adire at a church meeting, Salewa and the other women turn on her and demand to know what right she has to be so judgmental of Adire when none of the women’s lives are perfect, including Sade’s. Sade doesn’t answer and simply stomps out in anger.
Does Sade accept Adire in the community?
The captain manages to find Adire when one of the girls in his employment is seen wearing Adire’s products. Captain believes that Adire owes him her servitude, and therefore, he plans on using her to smuggle drugs across the country for his clients. Adire is in a tough situation, and the only option she has to protect herself and the people she has come to care about is to leave immediately. Thomas already got beaten up by Captain, and Adire cannot risk having that happen to anyone else.
Meanwhile, Sade comes to know that Simi is pregnant, and she takes her to get an abortion, where she runs into Salewa and has to rethink her intentions. Simi also wants to keep the child, so her parents tell her that they will raise the baby as long as she completes her education and stays in line for the rest of the time. After all these events, Sade calls Tunde, her assistant, and starts crying over the state of affairs. When Sade was younger, she wanted to take over the church but couldn’t because she was a boy. Therefore, when the church went to her husband, Sade did everything she could to uphold the teachings of the Bible to the letter because that was her only sense of accomplishment. None of her actions came from a place of faith or fulfillment but from broken ambitions. When her daughter was in such an impossible situation, Sade couldn’t run away from this reality anymore.
Tunde is even more twisted in his head than Sade ever realized. He took her phone call to mean that he had to balance things out for the sake of God, and he went to Adire’s house to kill her. However, this turns out to be a blessing in disguise because the captain was trying to prevent Adire from escaping, and it was the house fire that took his life and helped Adire finally find her freedom.
During Adire‘s ending, Tunde is caught by the villagers, and Adire is safe and sound. Back in the pastor’s house, Sade is going over the events with a newfound understanding of the devastating effects of blind faith. She had never meant for this to happen, but such was the harshness of her words, which she claimed were the will of God. After all this, Sade turns over a new leaf, and along with the rest of the women in the town, she too joins Adire’s party and welcomes her with open arms into her life and the community.
Adire was a story with potential that wasn’t well developed. It wasn’t even as fun as it should have been. Our conclusion after spending time with this movie is that there are better things to watch.