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The Best Nse Ikpe-Etim films streaming on Netflix
Nse Ikpe-Etim kicked off 2023 with hits upon hits, so we take a look.
For a few months this year, Nse Ikpe-Etim owned our attention with an array of impressive performances. It was one hit after another — beginning with Fiyin Gambo’s The Wait, then the gritty Shanty Town, then the romantic A Sunday Affair. All are Netflix original movies except Gambo’s faith-based drama, which opened in cinemas last year.
Ikpe-Etim is no stranger to our screens. Since her breakthrough in Emem Isong’s Reloaded, the gifted actress from Akwa Ibom has consistently produced remarkable performances. However, this year has felt different. She has unveiled new layers of artistry and expanded the range of her roles. It's as though we were ushered into 2023 to witness Ikpe-Etim on a different level.
To celebrate this intriguing phase of her career, let’s take a trip down memory lane to some of her memorable roles, exploring how she has seamlessly embodied character over the years.
As the name implies, this faith-based movie invites believers to deeply introspect their spiritual journeys, emphasizing the virtue of patience while pursuing hopeful aspirations. The film x-rays the diverse circumstances that often lead to doubt and disconnection from God. What sets The Wait apart is its revelation that the answers we seek are frequently right before our eyes, yet we choose to turn a blind eye.
Nse Ikpe-Etim takes on the role of an obstetrician with captivating brilliance, delivering a revelation of performance, unlike anything she’s given us recently. Her expressive eyes exude a sense of compassion, brimming with empathy for both herself and the women under her care on their spiritual journies. The role marks a remarkable departure from the portrayals of assertive female characters that Nollywood sees her as in recent times. This leaves us pondering the depths she could explore in similar emotionally demanding roles.
Set against the backdrop of impoverished communities, Shanty Town, Netflix’s first Nigerian original series of 2023, unveils how politicians and government officials exploit our society’s poorest for their heinous endeavours and swiftly discard them when they no longer need them. Prostitution reigns supreme in this town, forging an unlikely connection between the elite and non-elite. Can anyone find freedom in this treacherous place where survival is paramount?
Ikpe-Etim assumes the role of Ene, a tenacious soul who has ascended the ranks from a lowly prostitute to a madam. However, her ascent does not absolve her from the shackles of Scar, the menacing leader of the place, who himself is trapped by the iron grips of the politicians he works for.
Portraying Ene, Ikpe-Etim gracefully departs from her customary elegance, immersing herself in the role with relatable vulgarity. Her command of the Ibibio dialect and menacing yet depressing eyes further ground the role and her performance in the gritty tone they demand.
A Sunday Affair
A Sunday Affair tells the story of two friends, Uche and Toyin, bound by an unbreakable bond and willing to do everything and anything for each other. But that unyielding loyalty is tested when they find themselves in love with the same man — the dashing, unassuming Sunday, who is married, by the way.
Ikpe-Etim plays the lively and impulsive Uche, a baddie who lives in the moment. An entanglement with Sunday makes her yearn for love and affection beyond mere physical connection. He is happy to oblige until he experiences her best friend, Toyin, a woman of a different flavour.
Accustomed to witnessing Ikpe-Etim embody commanding and unyielding characters, I must admit that her portrayal of Uche caught me off-guard as she triumphed effortlessly. It is a testament to her versatility as an actress that she convincingly portrays Uche — a free-spirited woman who is also tender and selfless even as she tries to escape the shackles of a sugar daddy whom she has always submitted to because she feels undeserving of true love and respect.
King of Boys: The Return of the King
The original King of Boys stands as a rare modern Nollywood classic. Its sequel, The Return of the King, continues the journey of Alhaja Salami, who resurfaces, driven by a potent mix of revenge and regret, to reclaim her stolen mandate.
In this seven-episode series, Ikpe-Etim takes on the role of Jumoke Randle, the poised and sophisticated first lady of Lagos State, whose past is marked by extreme poverty.
Mrs Randle’s pursuit of power knows no bounds, as she stops at nothing to ensure her husband's continued stay in office. If you are familiar with the commanding presence of America's Viola Davis, you will undoubtedly recognize a similar air surrounding Ikpe-Etim's portrayal of Jumoke Randle. From the deliberate grace in her every step and the polished manner in which she sits to the finesse with which she cradles a cup of tea, Ikpe-Etim captures the essence of a bougie first lady.
However, amidst the veil of sophistication, the actress skillfully allows glimpses of Jumoke's deep-seated insecurities about her penurious past to the surface. This simple and subtle interplay between Jumoke's carefully crafted façade and her inner struggles humanizes the character, ensuring she remains relatable and grounded.
Another of Charles Okpaleke's productions centered around glamour and luxury, Glamour Girls, tells a captivating story revolving around Donna, played by Ikpe-Etim, who runs a platform for high-class call girls that is sponsored and patronised chiefly by the elites — immersing the ladies in a life of luxury but also exploitation.
While similar to her role in Shanty Town, Ikpe-Etim’s Donna has a more commanding aura and exists in a world of extravagance. As the business’s mastermind, she has a low tolerance for anyhowness, and trust the veteran actress to provide a performance that’s true to Donna, capturing the essence of a strong-willed and ambitious woman navigating the treacherous waters of high-class prostitution. She is a delight to watch, even if the film falters occasionally.
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