Movie Reviews

Strained Review: A Heartfelt Journey of Reconciliation and Redemption

Queen Nwokoye's portrayal of Abigail is a standout performance, capturing the complexities of a mother seeking redemption after years of separation.

Strained review
Strained the movie [PHOTO CREDIT: NewsBytes]

Our Strained review is as candid as it gets. Strained is a deep Nollywood movie that looks into family bonds and explores the complexities of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Strained weaves an overwhelmingly near-home tale, delving into the poignant journey of a young woman and her estranged mother. A Netflix movie directed by Okechukwu Oku (Blackrose and Levi), a Nigerian movie producer, director and cinematographer. As hidden truths surface and emotions run high, Ebere’s path to forgiveness and reconciliation becomes the focal point of the narrative.

Plot

The story begins with young Ebere eagerly awaiting her mother’s visit on visiting day at Methodist College, Enugu. Watching other parents shower affection on their children, Ebere longs for the same love and attention.

Fast forward several years, Ebere is now married to Ozo, and they welcome their first child. As Ebere and Ozo navigate the challenges of fresh parenthood, Ozo is called away to Calabar for a work emergency, leaving Ebere overwhelmed. Unable to find help, Ozo suggests reaching out to Ebere’s estranged mother, Abigail, for assistance with Omugwo. Omugwo is an Igbo term for the traditional custom for postpartum care done by the Grandmother or close female relative.

Abigail, played by the famous Queen Nwokoye, portrayed Ebere’s estranged mother, with whom she had not interacted for 13 years. When Ebere’s estranged mother arrives to assist with her infant son, their strained relationship unexpectedly finds an opportunity for reconciliation. Despite the existing friction between them, they, for the first time, connect over Ozo and Ebere’s wedding album, leading to a poignant emotional moment.

When Ebere’s friend reveals her own marital struggles of physical abuse, Abigail advises her to leave for her safety, triggering an emotional outburst from Ebere. She confronts her mother about abandoning her in a toxic home to be raised by a violent father only to learn of Abigail’s desperate attempts to see her, thwarted by Ebere’s father. Abigail shared the harrowing details of the domestic violence she endured, which eventually led her to flee for her safety and how the same violence caused Ebere’s stepmother to become paralyzed.

Their emotional confrontation ultimately leads to a deepening bond between Ebere and Abigail. However, their newfound harmony is short-lived when Abigail’s overzealous care inadvertently lands the baby in the hospital, prompting a heated argument between mother and daughter.

As Ebere struggles with the challenges of Omugwo alone, she realises the true value of her mother’s presence. With Ozo’s support, she reaches out to Abigail, who promptly returns, marking a hopeful new chapter in their relationship.

Cast

Queen Nwokoye’s portrayal of Abigail is a standout performance, capturing the complexities of a mother seeking redemption after years of separation.

Tracey George skillfully embodies Ebere’s journey, portraying her inner turmoil with raw emotion and vulnerability. 

Sam Sunny Nnabuike and Padita Agu add depth to the narrative with their compelling performances as supporting characters.

Language

Strained seamlessly integrates the Nigerian Igbo dialect, enriching the film’s authenticity and cultural resonance. While English serves as the primary language, the occasional infusion of Igbo adds depth and texture to the dialogue, enhancing the viewer’s immersion into the story’s setting.             

Summary

The plot of Strained is characterised by its focus on the evolving relationship between Abigail and Ebere, with fewer expected twists. Its narrative primarily revolves around the redefinition of their dynamic.

While Strained delivers a heartfelt narrative, some viewers may yearn for additional layers of complexity, particularly in exploring the dynamics of Ebere’s relationship with her father and stepmother. Despite this, the movie’s use of props, especially those relating to the baby, adds a touch of realism and authenticity to the storytelling.

Strained movie
5.2
Review Overview
Summary

While Strained delivers a heartfelt narrative, some viewers may yearn for additional layers of complexity, particularly in exploring the dynamics of Ebere’s relationship with her father and stepmother. Despite this, the movie’s use of props, especially those relating to the baby, adds a touch of realism and authenticity to the storytelling.

  • Costumes4
  • Casting6
  • Plot6
  • Setting4
  • Story6
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