Movie Reviews - Ties That Bind

Ama Abebrese is a doctor, she loves her ex-boyfriend but has broken up with him because she's had two miscarriages related to incompatibity issues with regards to making healthy babies. She's afraid that means they'll never have children together, and does not want to be barren or subject him to the same fate. She is also scared that everyone will blame her, and the burden of having or not having children would crush their love and marriage. So she pushes him away even without telling him of her losses.

Omotola Jalade is also incapable of having live babies with her husband, she either miscarries, has stillbirth or the children die as infants. We watch as she endures several humiliations and pressure from all around especially from her mother-in-law. Though he appears weak and under his mother's thumb, I like that her husband stands by her her when it really matters.

The American lecturer pines after a child she had and abandoned several years ago. Her story feels like the most sketchy of the lot, but I think it says more about the writing and the acting. In reality, it is also a rarely talked about issue of how sometimes women leave their children or have them taken away for one reason or the other, and how it haunts them.

A secondary character does have children, but has to make the difficult choice of choosing the society's view of her and her marriage over her children's health when her daughter is put in harm's way.

Leila Djansi directs these stories and actresses in a way that shows that African society still does not offer women the fairness and choices that will give them a completely fulfilled life. She does that while allowing these women their dignity and showing that we have indeed made some strides. I'll love to see more movies like this. I rate it a 4 stars - Myne

Atala - I had watched Leila Djansi's "Sinking Sands" several months ago, and I was very impressed with what I saw. So when Myne mentioned to me that her "Ties That Bind" movie was now available to watch, we both agreed that it would be a good movie to watch together.

The movie is about the lives of three women; Buki (played by Ama Abebrese, who also starred in "Sinking Sands), a young woman who, while in a strained relationship with her boyfriend, is moving to from the city to take up a post as doctor in a Ghanaian village; Adobea (played by Omotola Jalade Ekeinde), an old schoolmate of Buki who lives in the village; and Theresa, a friend of Buki who lectures in a university in the city. It explores the theme of motherhood in the three women's lives: Buki's relationship is strained because she has had a miscarriage after getting pregnant for her boyfriend, and she doubts whether she will be able to have children for him; Buki has had even more miscarriages for her husband; and Theresa is trying to get back with her daughter who she abandoned years ago.

I found the movie thought-provoking and moving in parts. For example, there is this scene with a villager who has befriended Buki. Her husband has just raped her daughter, and is about to face jungle justice from the villagers. Even though she is furious at him for what he has done, she feels that leaving him to mob justice will not make things better for her family, and the movie starkly shows the difficult decision that she has to make, and the conflict she faces. Then there is the story of Adobea, and how she has to deal with a debilitating sickness as well as antagonism and humiliation from her mother-in-law.

Having said this, I felt the movie lacked the kind of emotional intensity that I found in "Sinking Sands'; there were parts where I felt it was treading water, and other parts where it began to feel somewhat 'preachy'. I also felt that the story of Theresa's was somewhat tangential to the plot; it could have been removed, and I wouldn't really have felt the difference. But I liked that there was a positive, uplifting ending to the story, and that means that I can give it a 3.5 star rating.

In summary, Ties That Bind resonated for me because of the topic it handled with three women who are dealing with various issues of motherhood, infertility and being a woman in an African community. The story was well told, the acting very mature, and the directing nuanced.

Who else has seen the movie and what did you think of it?