The Best Nollywood Films of 2022 So Far
There have been many developments that have pushed the Nollywood film industry forward and away from the traditional cinema route. This year, Netflix has released some more original Nigerian content, including the highly talked about Blood Sisters series. Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, is gathering its collection of local Nollywood content in preparation for what is a huge launch later in the year.
While some may argue that the industry is moving forward very slowly — especially in comparison to years in the past — there’s still more room for growth. There were only a few Nollywood highlights during the first half of 2022. But the highlights were very strong and we feel confident about where the second half of 2022 will take us.
Here are the best Nollywood films of 2022 so far. One additional note: we only took into account feature-length projects for our ranking, leaving out short films and documentaries.
Dinner at My Place
The romantic comedies produced by Nollywood are well-known, and Kevin Apaa’s Dinner at My Place is unquestionably one of the better ones. In this film, Nonso (played by Timini Egbuson) intends to pop the question to his girlfriend over dinner using an expensive ring that belonged to his late mother. Nonso ends up with the ring in the soup and receives an unexpected visitor, which alters the course of the enjoyable night he had planned.
Dinner at My Place, which was originally planned to be a short film, plays into the typical love clichés. Still, its engaging and has a fresh plot. And the standout performances are enough compensation for viewers.
For Maria Ebun Pataki
In Damilola Orimogunje’s debut feature film, the director decides to tackle postpartum depression, a topic which does not get enough representation, particularly through cinema. For Maria Ebun Pataki comes well armed with some of the things that make it a good watch, despite the difficult topic it touches on: there’s a simple story, good camera work, and brilliant performances from actors Meg Otanwa, Gabriel Afolayan, and Tina Mba.
For Maria Ebun Pataki is currently streaming on Netflix.
King of Thieves
There has been an upsurge in epic Nollywood films over the past few years. And the story of bravery and betrayal told in King of Thieves stands out; this is one of the most exciting additions to Nollywood’s epics catalogue.
The blood-thirsty Ageshinkole, the main character in the film, wages a campaign of terror on Ajeromi’s kingdom, but there’s more to his madness than meets the eye. For over two hours, King of Thieves weaves a plot that is not perfect but has a lot going for it to keep viewers charmed till the end.
The Blood Covenant
Directed by Fiyin Gambo, The Blood Covenant tells the story of Eddy (Oluwatobi Bakre), Jite (Uzor Arukwe), and Osiano (Shawn Faqua) who are plagued by the struggles of everyday living in the bustling Lagos. These boys, together with an old classmate who turns rich overnight, are bound by a blood covenant which they made while in school and now have to deal with the consequences when a night of enjoyment turns out sour.
The acting in the film takes the cake for most of it with Arukwe and Bakre delivering some of their finest work here. It is also worthy to commend the subtle comedy, which works well sometimes to distract from the horror that hangs over the plot.
The Blood Covenant is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
A Simple Lie
Making films that stand out in Nollywood is nothing new for Biodun Stephen. This time around, she enlists Bisola Aiyeola, Kachi Nnochiri, Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, Bolaji Ogunmola, and other actors to do justice to her most recent comedy, A Simple Lie.
In this one, Boma (Bisola Aiyeola) is desperate for the attention of her ex-boyfriend, Xavier (Kachi Nnochiri), so much that she’d tell big lies to get him back. Her biggest lie causes a series of tragic occurrences that impact the lives of people around her and causes chaos throughout the entire film.
A Simple Lie excels as an engaging comedy film and holds the interest of the audience starting with an opening act that is amusing and simply fantastic.
In Vanity, Ify (Jemima Osunde) is a young lady who moves to Lagos from Enugu after getting married to her husband, Kobi (Uzor Arukwe). While Ify is settling to life in the ‘big city’ as a newlywed, her husband expects her to get a job and contribute to the pool of funds for their growing family. Kobi is also very keen on her active participation, which leaves him overbearing most of the time.
Directed by Chukwuemeka Nwabunze, Vanity shines with great production, engaging storytelling and a stellar performance from Arukwe.
For an industry that started off with a lot of horror movies, Nollywood tends to stay away from it regularly, sticking to its romantic comedy niche. It is why films like Dare Olaitan’s Ile Owo score cool points for existing — they’re new, different and hit a little close to the stories and beliefs we’re very accustomed to knowing.
In Ile Owo, we’re taken on a journey to meet Akanni Owo, a man who has everything but wants to live forever. He gets this for his descendants, however, there’s a steep price to pay for this to happen. While Ile Owo’s opening act is fairly strong, much more is required to keep things moving forward for the duration of the show’s 95 minutes.
The film features stars such as Efa Iwara, Immaculata Oko-Kassim, Sophie Alakija, Femi Lewis and Tina Mba.