The Pains And Joys of Motherhood: A Review Of “Baby Mamas”
The romantic drama, “Baby Mamas” has a powerful leading female star cast of Dineo Ranaka, Thembisa Mdoda, Kay Smith and Salamina Mosese among others.
With these talented group of women who are all well-seasoned actors, there is a great expectation for the total success of the film.
The film opens with a focus on Smith who plays the character of Chantel. Her character is that of a first-time mom being taught the ropes of being a baby mama by her girl squad. While the conversation between her and her baby daddy, Keenan (Donovan Pietersen) manages to elicit some humour, Chantel’s character comes across as that of someone who internalises everything around her. Smith’s simple yet genius portrayal of her character is commendable as she effortlessly conveys her emotions through her expressive saucer eyes. It is safe to say she shows you her emotions rather than tell you.
The film moves to its second stage to focus on Ranaka’s unhinged character, Joy. For her part, she is the embodiment of all the drama and frustration that comes with being a baby mama. More than once, we see her lose her marbles and she convinces us with her being that baby mama comes with nothing but troubles and woes as brothers. The role of Ranaka helps to see the craziness that comes with single motherhood.
On another hand is the vulnerable character of Sandy played by Mdoda who delivers an honest and heart-warming performance. She embodies the hope of many baby mamas that things can be worked out with an ex even when he has clearly moved on with his life. Like in the case of most unrequited love, she resorts to frustrating his life as an outlet for her pain as well as make him go through the pain and sadness she also feels. It is a love-hate situation for the character of Sandy as is likeable in one scene and you find yourself hating her in the next.
Mosese’s portrayal of the character of Toli is rather a bit boring with her baby daddy issues making her come across as your goody miss goody two shoes girl-next-door. Her character’s screen time should have perhaps been reduced and dedicated to the more interesting and vibrant characters not to mention that her build-up romance with hunky IT technician Michael (Jonathan Boynton-Lee) starts off with initial flying sparks but rather ends in a lukewarm manner. The onscreen chemistry between the pair is so lacklustre they definitely deserve a Razzie award for their performance. Toli’s biggest discovery as a single mother is realizing that as a single mother, she has to risk not just her heart but that of her child’s as well on the path to finding love.
Although most of the situations in the film are relatable and the music selection that included original songs from a cast member, Nicholas “Nicksoul” Nkuna is appreciable, the screenplay had certain plot inconstancies and lacked pace which is the biggest flaw of the film.
The film with its staccato fashion pace ends awkwardly but one can’t take away that the powerful message it passes is one that resonates with society and leaves the viewer with a lesson that when it comes to the drama surrounding single parenting, you always have to view the glass as half full.