Lara and the Beat is a Nollywood drama film released in 2018. It was directed by Tosin Coker and stars Seyi Shay, Somkele Iyamah and Vector. The movie features actors like Wale Ojo, Shafy Bello, Osita Iheme and Toni Tones and Deyemi Okanlawon.
Two sisters fall from grace to grass when their late parents’ company is caught in a massive scandal. We have a great concept. Two sisters used to luxury have to adjust to being broke until they can get can back on their feet. One of the sisters, the titular character, played by Seyi Shay, is incredibly spoiled and needs a reality check. She also wants to kickstart her music career, even though she can’t sing.
The other sister, Dara (Somkele Iyamah) is more responsible and is desperate to save her parents’ legacy. She also wants to launch her own film career. There’s even a handsome love interest. So, a coming-of-age drama with a romantic subplot – there’s so much to work with.
Yet, Lara and the Beat is the epitome of wasted potential. How a two-hour movie still managed to be rushed is bewildering. Many things were poorly done. The most important character is Lara, who clearly needs to grow up, but we don’t get to see this happen. It just…happens. She even develops musical talent out of nowhere. Her love interest, Sal (Vector), swoops in to hijack the story with a romance that does not stir our hearts.
Sal, whose true identity is…unclear, spends his time smiling at Lara and being mysterious. It is his fault that the movie’s resolution is way too easy.
Both the subplots and the main plot are underdeveloped. It is painful to see how much more could have been done with the stories. Perhaps the movie should have focused solely on Lara and her music career. They might not have been able to avoid the confusing ending, but at least the story could have been satisfying.
An amazing cast
At least we got an amazing cast. Seyi Shey as Lara is very enjoyable to watch. Her acting is not always satisfactory. Sometimes she overdoes it, but overall, it is a good performance. Can’t say the same for Vector, but he has his moments. They are musicians first and foremost and need to work on their acting skills. The chemistry between Lara and Sal is a bit one-sided, with Seyi Shay doing most of the work.
Other actors did great with their roles, from Somkele Iyamah to Chioma Chukwuka (Aunty Patience). Uche Jombo as Fadekemi West does not quite work. Kemi Lala Akindoju plays Dara’s great new friend, and Toni Tones plays Lara’s mistreated friend who enjoys witnessing Lara’s fall.
We have to applaud Lara and The Beat’s great cinematography and music. The hits are entertaining. There is a particularly great scene with the sisters dancing along to Angelique Kidjo’s Wombo Lombo. And with all the amazing costumes, watching the characters strut around is a delight.
Despite all its shortcomings, Lara and the Beat is a very entertaining movie. It was a nice effort, and we are looking forward to more stories like it.