Everyone knows I am a sucker for teen movies and series (I have only watched a couple but check out this review on my favourite Nigerian teen series here)
So when I heard about Far from home and Wilmer Academy, I was so ready. I quickly rushed to watch it as soon as it dropped on Netflix.
While it wasn’t my expectations, it really did live up to its hype.
Far from Home cast cut across old veteran Nollywood actors and actresses to new budding ones like Genoveva Umeh, and Mike Folarin among others.
The casts were perfect for their roles and it is no surprise that Far from Home secured a top spot on Netflix’s Global top series.
THE PLOT from My POV
Episode one of this thrilling teen series introduces us to Ishaya Bello who is an artist working his head out to make a living for his struggling family.
Ishaya also worked with his mom as an assistant cleaner at some rich Lekki folk’s home.
We noticed that Ishaya was really working hard and saving money but what we later realized was that he had been selected to participate in a program organized by his hero and renowned artist, Essien.
To get accepted to the programme, Ishaya has to pay a huge sum of money. Also, he had to travel to London for the programme.
We later found out that at night, Ishaya worked as a bartender in a club owned by Government and Rambo. (More like Rambo and Government, but you get the gist)
So, Ishaya was a hustler and a certified one at that.
Now, let’s bring in another scene and character, Ishaya’s sister.
Her dream has been to enter the Wilmer Academy. Ishaya discovers that a scholarship was possible and urged her to go for it which she vehemently felt she wouldn’t get.
Ishaya discovers that the scholarship comes with a prize of $10,000 and decides to go for it himself (and did!)
But how will he get the application fee or how will he pass?
As he was thinking about this, life favourably presented itself. As I said, Ishaya works with Government and Oga Rambo. Now, there is an open safe with racks of money. Ishaya had access to this so he decided to steal (steal from criminals).
Why did I get Last days at Forcados vibes from that scene??
Anyway, he stole the money. Life came again as an angel and the rich folk with whom he assisted his mom with their cleaning duties got the scholarship exam answers illegally. For some reason, the son of the man threw the answers and Ishaya got them.
With the help of the stolen money and exam malpractice, Ishaya got into the academy with flying colours (Literally flying colours).
All he thought was the scholarship money but after expenses incurred were removed (uniform, school fees etc), he was left with just 5000 naira. (I feel like this was one of my funniest moments. 😭😭)
While this happened, Government discovered he stole his money and threatened to kill him. To save his sister, Ishaya accepted to be a drug dealer at Wilmer Academy. (Actually, he caught some of dem rich folks smoking luxury loud in the bathroom)
Now, Ishaya had seen Wilmer Academy founder's granddaughter on his first day and love at first sight happened. Then, he met Frank and Vima who became his best friends.
Ishaya (now Dr. high) was having a thriving drug business. In fact, Government was giving him the wrong right mentoring (if that is a word) but everything changed when Adufe, Ishaya's ex-girlfriend, now Oga Rambo girlfriend, suggested Kidnapping the rich Wilmer Academy kids. (I didn't say anything about Adufe at the start right?)
How kidnapping became a thing in this movie is kind of funny, but surprisingly a great plot addition. Adufe was asked to sell drugs and make money but she lost it. Since she owed Oga Rambo some money, she suggested that they kidnap one of the Academy kids.
After a successful kidnapping, Rambo loved the idea and agreed that it should be a new line of business. He wanted to go for the big fish, the founder's granddaughter Carmen.
Of course, Ishaya wouldn't let them touch Carmen so he reported it to the school authorities. Government was arrested and Oga Rambo escaped.
When everyone thought things were going fine, Rambo came with unexpected revenge on Ishaya and his friends.
The students defended themselves well (Oh! Reggie 😍) and Rambo had to run away.
Adufe betrayed him (Rambo) and towards the end, we could see him locked in a cage.
In the end, Ishaya pursued his dream but with Government and Rambo alive and Adufe looking like the next villain, I really can’t say what Season two would be like.
What I Loved
I love character development. I love when minor characters don’t make me annoyed (sorry). I love a straightforward story. And I believe Far from home had this. Ishaya was an ambitious kid who not only cared about his dream but will do anything to achieve it (like stealing from a drug lord!) but later developed into someone who learns from his mistakes.
Carmen too had her development, although her parents cut that short. (I guess we would see more development in Season 2)
Then Adufe also developed (Maybe for the worst) but in essence, each character bloomed towards the end of the series.
Then, I loved the series' cinematography. Wilmer academy is obviously a luxurious school so I get the glitz and the glam.
Then the lighting was impeccable.
Overall, what did it for me was the straightforward storyline. Maybe it's my OCD, but I hate a movie that has so many characters and storylines. I mean, even if it has to, please connect the dots.
What I don't like
When the Far from home trailer came out, I couldn’t help but call it a Best Friends in the World pro-max (No offense). But the series totally had a different storyline than BFW did. I will say that what I didn’t like was that some characters weren’t well-developed. Maybe it’s for the best.
For instance, Denrele’s father (the rich folk with exam answers)seemed to hate Ishaya. Maybe more lines could have been added to his character. Maybe he could have been a side villain or something.
Then, let's be honest. Do Nigerian schools have lockers? And then the art teacher said something about Semester.
I feel like the series would make more sense to rich kids in that aspect than the poor masses children (me inclusive)
The fashion in the series was also poor. And oh, I didn’t understand some people in the series at all e.g Carmen’s best friend. Let’s leave it at that.
What I think
7.5/10. Go and watch it. Great show with new talents. I don't know their ages but I am sure they are not teens. Other than that, I can't wait for Season two.