The 2013 ReelWorld film festival kicks off in high gear with Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s lighthearted romantic comedy from Ghana, Contract.
We first meet Peter (Hlomla Dandala), a successful businessman who loves the ladies, but enjoys his bachelorhood too much to ever give it up for the stresses of an actual relationship. Realizing that he wants to become a father, however, Peter hatches a plan that will not only give him the child he wants, but also should finally get his well-meaning mother off his back – or at least stop the parade of potential wives she keeps pushing on him. He’s going to pay a stranger to carry his child.
Enter youthful and headstrong Abena (the beautiful Yvonne Okoro), displaying many of the characteristics that cause Peter to shy away from the idea of marriage, and yet also appearing to be the very type he is looking for in his ideal mother-of-his-child. Abena at first scorns Peter’s “job opportunity” but later, when she can’t find anything else, she returns to accept his bizarre yet lucrative offer.
Peter has his lawyer buddy, Kuuku (Joseph Benjamin in a hilarious supporting role), draw up a contract that both parties must sign before going through with the baby-generating process. Once that detail is out of the way, Peter sets the rest of his plan into motion.
Overall, while many of the plot points are fairly predictable (it is a romantic comedy, after all, and so follows a general formula by default), the characters and the storyline are refreshingly unique. Some of Peter’s more eccentric habits and expressions had me laughing well past the end credits, and Abena’s genuine warmth and heart were wonderfully brought to the surface by Okoro’s performance. The leads have terrific chemistry together – some of my favourite moments in the film are the quieter ones spent between the two of them – and they both seemed to be having a good time within the frames of the film itself – a quality which is often sadly lacking in bigger budget Hollywood productions of recent years.
Contract is the ReelWorld Film Festival’s Opening Gala (preceded by a reception at 5pm), and you can catch it tonight, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 7:00pm at Canada Square.