Sometimes it takes outsiders to point out truths about society at large, especially when it comes to that fundamental social unit, the family. In Andrew Dosunmu’s “Mother of George,” a woman in a Nigerian community in Brooklyn is presented with a drastic alternative when she fails to bear a child. Not your everyday dilemma, but as depicted in this lushly detailed and passionately performed melodrama, the mores and traditions of this sequestered, seldom depicted group take on a broader relevance.
Dosunmu brings the Brooklyn Nigerian community to life from the start with a gorgeously shot wedding scene in which clothes, faces, even walls radiate with vibrant, saturated colors that are nearly palpable. (Bradford Young won best cinematography at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) The happy bride Adenike (Danai Gurira) had been brought from Africa to the United States by her husband, Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé), a stolid restaurant owner, and she beams with gratification and anticipation.