‘A Soweto Love Story’ Review: A Surprisingly Heart-Felt Watch That Hits The Right Notes

The month of February is all about falling in love, and Valentine’s Day is just the right day to celebrate it. There is a lot to take away from this surprisingly good South African movie, A Soweto Love Story, directed by Rolie Nikiwe. It is a Netflix Original film that was released on the platform on 14th February 2024. This movie is based on the Netflix’s Nigerian romance drama film A Naija Christmas. A Soweto Love Story is the story of a matriarch who wants to see her three sons settled and married by the end of the year. 

Advertisement

A Soweto Love Story is about Bongekile, a mother of three adult sons who wants them to get married. She is a devout churchgoer and is constantly worried about her position in the diocese as a parent of three unmarried eligible men. Her older son Menzi is a young bachelor who is meek and shy yet runs a successful restaurant. The middle son Sandile is a music composer and producer, and the youngest one Sky is a fashion designer. Everyone presumes Sky to be gay because of his affinity towards fashion but he denies being queer.  

Sandile’s girlfriend of six years, Sente, publicly breaks up with him over infidelity, and his mother happens to witness this incident.  Bongekile demands her sons to find a partner for themselves by New Year’s Eve, threatening to sell the house and move away if they don’t. All three men have many reasons to stay in the house and they do not want to let it go. Bongekile is also competing with another churchgoer, Bridgette, who is proudly flaunting her newly engaged daughter Lemogang. Will Bongekile’s sons find their perfect partner? Was Bongekile serious about the sale of the house? Would Sente consider coming back to Sandile?

Advertisement

A Soweto Love Story is just over one hour and forty minutes, and within that time frame, the movie delivers a lot. The screenplay by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Zelipa Zulu is straightforward and does not digress at any point. It does get mushy and cheesy, but these low points can be forgiven keeping in mind how well-constructed the story is. The movie is predictable from the beginning, and the viewers are aware of who will end up with which person. It is the journey that makes the film interesting. The engagement quality of A Soweto Love Story is excellent, as it keeps us guessing what might happen next to the three men who are now desperate to find a partner.  In that process, they find love and the courage to stand up for themselves. 

The screenplay quite nicely explores all the characters. All the leading men have a crisp character arc, and the narrative stays stable without confusing the viewers much. Menzi, Sandile, and Sky are treated as three different people and the issues they face as individuals in their pursuit to find the person they love. Menzi finds the courage to get out of his comfort zone, while Sandile seeks the strength to be himself for Sente and Sky refuses to let go of his partner despite some opposition. 

Advertisement

There is an LGBTQ+ angle given to the story, and it is presented in a sensitive way. The mother had believed Sky was gay and was willing to see him with a male if he settled down with the partner. That’s a progressive lineup right there. The contradiction in the screenplay comes when the same mother resorts to emotional blackmail to make sure her sons find a partner for themselves. There are plenty of points at which female characters are showcased as confident and men are shown on the backfoot. This switch in gender roles is a welcome change.  The airport chase scenes are common in romantic films but this time it is the woman trying to run after the man she loves and finding a reason for him to stay back for the love they share. A refreshing change of pace adds to the good viewing experience.  The climactic reveal was surprising and hilarious. This proves the screenplay took the right kind of trajectory, and not be cliched. 

The screenplay also had men talking about their fears and insecurities and facing them head-on instead of suppressing them. It was assumed the rivalry between Bridgette and Bongekile is forgotten but the writer brings it back with a surprising twist. The direction is commendable, and it stays strong till the end. Some of the continuity issues can be forgiven as the narrative remains strong.  The humor in the film lands and there is plenty of hilarity to experience. Since this is a story of three brothers, there are scenes between the siblings that are highly relatable.  

Advertisement

The production quality needs to be appreciated. The costume, jewelry, and make-up stand out for all the right reasons. There is authenticity and realism in the way the movie is made. This quality of A Soweto Love Story makes the film a good watch. The performances by all the lead actors are good. Do not expect any heavy-duty acting from the crew because the story is lighthearted. The tale is easy and breezy which allowed the actors to be natural in front of the camera. 

Many scenarios are highly relatable. This quality is only because of the performances of the actors and the well-written arcs for them. The standout performer in the movie is Sparky Xulu as Menzi.  Sparky as Xulu can get into the skin of the character as a shy and nervous man who is confident in the kitchen but not while conversing with women. As Menzi he was able to embody the role with a lot of sincerity. Lunga Shabalala delivered a convincing performance as Sandile, who is a flirt, yet finds himself in a soup after the breakup. He handles his matter with utmost maturity. Motsoaledi Setumo as Sente, Sandile’s girlfriend, is good to watch as a confident woman who stands up for herself.

Advertisement

A Soweto Love Story is the right kind of film to watch this Valentine’s week. It is a heartfelt tale filled with the right amount of romance and humor.  


Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

Latest articles

Featured

A Soweto Love Story is the right kind of film to watch this Valentine’s week. It is a heartfelt tale filled with the right amount of romance and humor.  'A Soweto Love Story' Review: A Surprisingly Heart-Felt Watch That Hits The Right Notes