A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Don't let greed, wealth, power, or fame go to your head. Vanity and selfishness aren't positive characteristics.
Positive Role Models
While Saro doesn't heed the warnings of others, Arolake does, even if it's too late.
All the characters are Black and Nigerian.
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Violence & Scariness
Sexual violence includes rape, coercion, harassment. A king demands sex from one of his queens. Another man rapes a woman. A man slaps a woman's bare butt. People discuss the worth of women based on their "pleasure" or "child-rearing" value. The "slave trade" and suicide are mentioned a few times. Physical violence includes a man being beaten to death by an angry mob. The dead man is also urinated on, and his eye is missing and his face is bloodied. Skeletons rot in the forest.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex and brief nudity. A handful of sex scenes show thrusting but are brief. A woman shows her bare breasts and a man shows his bare buttocks. There's a fair amount of talk about sex and relationships. Some romantic kissing.
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Strong language includes "s--t," "whore," "bastard," and "slave."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A magical gourd has powder inside it that resurrects the dead.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anikulapo is a Nigerian drama based on the work of Ifayemi Elebuibon. The title implies "one who holds death in his pouch," meaning one who has conquered death or for whom death has no power. But some connotations of this idea also imply that with this power comes a fateful doom. Saro begins as a humble weaver but soon stumbles into a great power. With it comes wealth and fame, but it's also the beginning of his downfall. There are some scenes of sexual violence, rape, assault, and harassment, and lots of discussions about the value of women, whether it be their "child-rearing capacity" or their use for "pleasure." Physical violence includes a beating by an angry mob, some blood, and gory images (beaten face, missing eye, skeletons). There are multiple brief sex scenes with some brief nudity (bare breasts and buttocks). Language includes "s--t," "whore," "bastard," and "slave." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The cinematography, setting, and performances in this drama are confident and scripted well. But Anikulapo is still too long and has some problems in translating its fable-like messages of the dangers of greed and power. Specifically, there's too much of the first act, too little of the second, and too abrupt a transition to the third and final passage that confirms Saro's path. It also isn't entirely clear that this is set in an abstract mystical past and not modern Nigeria. Some uninitiated might simply assume that this film is about present-day Nigeria.
While other aspects of culture might not readily translate without help, a lot of the folk culture presented here is decidedly antiquated in terms of the role of women, their "place" in their communities, and the "duties" as "queens" or as mothers. What this means is that the relevant female characters are trapped within the confines of these structures and therefore don't have room to go anywhere in the story. Also, the story isn't about their struggle. Arolake's eventual unhappiness only serves as Saro's eventual comeuppance; thus, she's relegated to a woman scorned, rather than revealed to be the protagonist all along.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.