Today, I will be recapping the 1996 Nollywood drama, Domitilla.
Once upon a time, an insane Christian book that claimed the devil created football as a tool to destroy humanity trended on the internet. I did the dirty work of actually reading and recapping it. The article was so popular that I decided to make my recaps into a weekly series named “So You Don’t Have To “, where I find batshit crazy pieces of media (books, movies, etc.) and recap them for your pleasure.
The movie starts with a group of sex workers — Judith (Sandra Achums), Anita (Ada Ameh), and Jenny (Kate Henshaw) — manning their street corner. You can tell that the night is just starting and these fabulous mistresses of the night are getting ready for customers to come to buy their work. The movie’s protagonist, Domitilla (Ann Njemanze) arrives. Her friends are excited to see her and express this exactly how you’d expect late 90s Nollywood prostitutes to.
In the 1990s, these outfits must’ve been scandalous enough to get one branded with a scarlet A and stoned to death in the market square. Now, this is just Christ Embassy choir couture.
They stand around for a while, complaining about a scarcity of customers when a guy that looks a lot like Grace Jones shows up looking for a fun time. After sizing up the ladies with his eyes, he settles on Anita, and the following conversation takes place between them:
Ok. That part was all me. Here’s what they really said:
And just like that, discount Grace Jones takes Anita home for the night. Not long after, Domitilla gets a client and is also whisked away. It’s revealed in the next scene that Domitilla is the only one out of the group who has a day job. Due to her overnight commitments, she gets to work late the next morning, causing her boss, discount Papa Ajasco, to yell at her.
Domitilla meets a hot and rich guy named John (Charles Okafor). One day, John comes to visit her at the tiny ass apartment that she shares with the other girls. While they’re chilling in the living room, Anita runs in barefoot and is barely clothed. She’s clearly just got back from servicing a client and is about to blab about it but Domitilla doesn’t want John to know about their true profession because she really likes him. So this happens:
Domitilla and John are out one night having a drink…
…when they run into one of John’s friends. The friend pulls John to a private corner of the bar they’re in and says:
John is already falling for Domitilla so he’s in denial for a bit but the friend is like:
John returns to the table and the following conversation takes place.
At her day job the next day, Domitilla complains to her colleague, Pat, about how all her money goes into taking care of her sick father. Pat feels bad for Domitilla and invites her to a party her uncle is throwing later that night, claiming that there will be many rich men who will probably be willing to give Domitilla free money. This is weird because Pat doesn’t even know that Domitilla moonlights as a sex worker. Domitilla attends the party flanked by her homegirls, and it doesn’t take long before she meets an older man named Dr Lawson (Enebeli Elebuwa) who decides to become her sugar daddy.
Domitilla, Jenny, and Judith are working their corner one night when a Peugeot 504 pulls up with two good-looking men in it, who say that they’re looking for a good group time. All the girls jump at the opportunity to chill with these obviously rich big boys willing to pay double their usual fee, so they get in the car with them. Things take a horrifying turn when the men drive to a dimly lit uncompleted building and bundle the girls in. The girls try to escape but Jenny is caught, choked, beheaded, and has her organs harvested.
Jenny’s death causes all the girls to spiral. There’s a heartbreaking scene where they all come together to grieve their fallen sister while complaining about the hard lives that fate has given them. The scene is effective but goes on for too long and quickly becomes annoying. Domitilla returns to the house one afternoon to find Anita packing her things. When she asks wtf is going on, Anita is like:
Anita informs Domitilla that she’s leaving their shared apartment to move in with discount Grace Jones, her client from the opening scene because he’s fallen in love with her and asked her to move in with him. Domitilla is truly happy for Anita but breaks down in tears, screaming, “GOD WHEN?!” Anita comforts her with this:
Just as Anita is about to leave, she turns to Domitilla and says:
But Domitilla is like:
And she does just that.
She doesn’t give up Dr Lawson, though. After telling him about Jenny’s death, he moves her into a hotel and foots the bill for her to live there permanently so he can sneak in for quickies whenever he wants without his wife finding out.
Dressed in a fancy wig and skirt suit combo so you know she has levelled up, Domitilla returns to her old apartment to visit Judith, the only remaining member of their group who still walks the street at night. Judith is distraught about the others leaving her alone for better lives.
Domitilla consoles her and gives her some money to start a proper business. Judith is over the moon.
Things go well for Domitilla until Dr Lawson’s wife, Mrs Lawson (Maureen Ihua), finds out about the affair. And as you expect, she’s fucking furious.
And she proceeds to do just that.
After taking her teenage daughter to Domitilla’s house so they can beat the shit out of Domitilla together (the daughter is horrified, says no, and asks to be taken home), Mrs Lawson decides to kill Domitilla, Disney villain style. She pays the manager of the hotel Domitilla is staying at to poison the next drink Domitilla orders. Unfortunately, the next time Domitilla orders a drink is when Dr Lawson is in the room with her. He unknowingly drinks from the poisoned glass and immediately dies.
Domitilla is arrested for the death of Dr Lawson and taken to court. Judith (who now runs a successful plastic business) joins forces with Anita to hire a good lawyer for Domitilla. Mrs Lawson plays the grieving window role perfectly and it looks like Domitilla might be found guilty. That’s until Dr Lawson’s teenage daughter takes the stand and reveals the truth.
Distraught that her own flesh and blood has exposed her like this, Mrs Lawson screams and passes out.
Domitilla’s friends and family run to hug her in celebration. Just as the judge is about to read the verdict, we get this:
I’m sorry but this first part was almost two hours long. There’s no way in hell I’m watching a sequel that’s obviously going to be another two hours of courtroom drama.
PEACE OUT. ✌🏽