Set in Lagos, 2023, A Sunday Affair captures the glamour and glitz of cosmopolitan life and love. In the same breath, it tells a story of deceit and betrayal, although the scripting isn’t wont to admit that a triangular affair involving two bosom friends and an emotionally chaotic, maritally spurned but ravishingly romantic man is something to worry about.
As grown-up and glaringly experienced in women matters as Sunday is, it is appalling that he dawdles before making relationship decisions that are less hormonally driven and more rationally engineered. On paper and, to an extent, in practice, he’s the quintessential alpha male. But his alphaness starts to entertain some doubt when he opens up to his younger brother that he’s neck-deep in love with both Uche and Toyin. One moment, acting on the tip-off of brotherly talk, he’s done frolicking in the tracks of the ladies; the next moment, he’s remorseful for himself and unapologetic about his dual desires. In those indecisive moments, he cuts the image of a twenty-something-year-old young man. You would expect a man that is supposedly (one can only make an educated guess of his age since this is unspecified in the film) in his late thirties or around his forties, to behave better than this. But not Sunday!
Early moments of the film expose us to how long Toyin and Uche have come, how always and uninterruptedly they’ve shared their sisterly camaraderie. It’s enough fodder for trust. But then, both of them find themselves in love with Sunday, each unaware, until much later in the story, that the other’s object of affection is that man they casually met at the wedding, Uche’s eye-catching dude.
There’s enough witticism to go round in A Sunday Affair. In her role as Uche, Nse Ikpe-Etimn comes up with an accustomed top-tier performance, sometimes holding really smart conversations that reveal Uche as the classic vixen she actually is. Following a hurried preliminary acquaintance, while Sunday trails Uche, he teases her with a tinge of amorous suspicion, “You are trouble”, to which Uche questioningly responds, “So you want to get neck-deep into trouble?”. Uche shines with the double entendre. Getting into trouble, could refer to the literal sense of being baited into real trouble, perhaps one bigger than merely having to deal with a nagging wife at home, perhaps a trouble big enough to consume Sunday’s life. Because the story has only begun some minutes ago, you cannot be too convinced that Uche has nothing sinister up her sleeves. The second sense is the risqué impression that Uche has in mind, that seal of immediate sexual chemistry with her new catch.
Another sleek conversation happens in the train meeting of Toyin and Sunday. With Sunday’s lead, any air of stiffness is breached and Toyin soon falls helplessly in love. Romance is made so easy and accessible that Toyin’s resolve to never again have anything to do with a man is overwhelmed by the gestures of Sunday. What later happens is that Toyin becomes more engrossed, forgets about her IUI and gets pregnant for Sunday. When she reveals that she has cervical cancer, it is to the mild shock of her boo Sunday and her bestie Uche. However, you should wonder why and how well Toyin has hid her health status from her bestie without rousing suspicion. For all the hype around their historical friendship, shouldn’t this news have been common knowledge between the female duo at first?
Betrayal sets in when Uche, after discovering that they both share Sunday, keeps the detail from Toyin, under the pretext of not wanting to dampen her friend’s will to live. The hypocrisy of caring about her friend’s wellbeing becomes apparent only to the discerning viewer as she still shags Sunday. If Toyin had not discovered for herself the affair between her would-be husband and her friend, and if she hadn’t died, as the ending of the film appears to suggest, don’t you think the sexual encounters between Uche and Sunday would have continued uninhibited? Wouldn’t these encounters have led to a chance pregnancy? In that case, what further direction would the plot have negotiated? Or, if the rather overambitious ending, a generous cliffhanger, meant that Toyin survived and she would have to relocate elsewhere, how are we sure there won’t be future scores to settle in a possible sequel?
A Sunday Affair is produced from the stable of EbonyLife Films, in collaboration with Netflix. It is a coordinated romantic tale, one of priorities and of scandalous love, the type of film that you use to while away time while bandying some ice cream treat with your lover in a dim-lit room. The film stars Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Oris Erhuero, and Alexx Ekubo, amongst others. It’s overall impression may be short-lived, but the meticulously scripted conversations, exciting cinematography and duplicity of characters whose roles are assumed by seasoned actors are all worth experiencing.