“Far from Home” has potential and highlights the realities of class systems

Omoleye Omoruyi
Far From Home
Far From Home

If you had seen social comments when the trailer of “Far From Home” was released, you are probably going to Netflix to see the movie with a bias: why not use teenagers to represent high school students instead of the ‘old men and women’ the director used?

But we talk about the proper presentation of storylines, right? Right? And, probably, those ‘older cast’ were the best to interpret the roles better than newbies. Interestingly, we would have loved to see teens in uniforms and not adults in uniforms like old Nollywood would ordinarily do.

Yet, let us not forget that “Far From Home” is more than the cast. It is the story – the representation of the realities of Nigerians.

Title: Far From Home
Running time: 5 episodes - average 40 minutes
Written: Dami Elebe

Characters in “Far From Home”

Ishaya Bello (Mike Folarin) – this one is the central figure and causes most of the problems of the story. He is determined to follow his dream of becoming a great artist and does almost everything he can to touch the skies. However, his path is not smooth, and he will put himself and his loved ones in danger to achieve this dream.

Carmen Wilmer-Willoughby (Elma Mbadiwe) – she is at the centre of what you will call ‘teen drama’; sex and drugs scandals. She is the one person who thinks love truly exists and sacrifices her reputation for this love. For Carmen, the writer was conservative and did not want to portray a full-blown spoilt brat who Is a regular club-goer and a maneater. Maybe drug addiction is enough, though.

Babatunde (Femi Branch) – this is that dad that will use you to achieve his own goals and does not care about yours. In this case, he is doing everything possible to ensure his son is a scholarship student at Wilmer Academy, so he has access to parley with billionaires.

You are an idiot if you think anyone can achieve anything honestly in this world.

Babatunde in “Far From Home”

Meanwhile, his son, Denrele (Raymond Umenze), is a severe distraction in the storyline.

Atlas (Olumide Oworu) – this is the typical former bourgeoisie who may do anything to stay with their former rich mates. Alongside his mom, you would see that the struggle is real to dine and wine with the rich and look the part. But he is busy struggling to get a scholarship. In a subtle tone, with this character, the story writer draws us to the conversation on DNA testing.

He didn’t think I was his. Did my father tell you he didn’t think I was his son?

Atlas

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Adufe (Gbugbemi Ejeye) – you would think the conversation on ‘what women want’ has ended until you see Adufe move from Ishaya to Oga Rambo because of money. She would say later in the story that she went to the Oga Rambo to make Ishaya jealous, but she also claimed that Oga Rambo had done more for her than Ishaya ever did – including helping her achieve her ‘dreams’. She eventually becomes the person on the big chair and employs the services of Ishaya.

Oga Carmen (Bolanle Ninalowo) – this character is typical of the barking dogs’ reference. Remember the supposed assassin, Blade, that was defeated too easily in “Blood Sisters“? He is defeated too easily and is locked up like the Angel (Hyena) he used to threaten anyone who crosses his path. He loves money more than himself and is ready to jeopardise his friendship with Oga Government for money.

Oga Government and Oga Ramon in Far From Home
Oga Government and Oga Rambo in Far From Home (PHOTO: Netflix)

The plot

“Far From Home” starts with the idea that everyone deserves the right to dream even when you encounter kill-joys:

Rahila ma tan ara e. Attending that school is a futile dream. You hear me?

Patricia (Funke Akindele) tells Rahila (Tomi Ojo), who wants to go to Wilmer Academy

The story then focuses on another dreamer, Ishaya – Rahila’s brother – who makes one decision to steal money from Oga Government and Oga Rambo and causes more problems than he can handle. Eventually, everyone is affected by his decision in one way or another, including his friends and family.

Yet, it is happily ever after for him when his role model changes his mind, and his dream comes true.

Essien and Ishaya in Far From Home
Essien and Ishaya in Far From Home (PHOTO: Netflix

Issues raised

Social disparities – this, you would think, would continue through the story. But, it begins the story and everything changes to teen drama and karma. Yet, there is a general sense that it is a stretch for poor people to attain certain positions – talk of impossibilities. But opportunities abound, and Dami Elebe does not fail to tell us that, except that the rich will always attempt to manipulate the system just like Babatunde.

Read also: “U-Turn” spins away from what would have been both relatable and realistic

Dream and keep dreaming, but do somethingRahila gave up immediately she realised she had to pay ₦150,000 for a scholarship examination at Wilmer Academy. She would have passed, but there was no way she would get that money except by illegal or immoral means. Her brother, on his own, was not deterred and was determined to become his projected future by all means. The end tells us we can all do it if we can get up and act, not murmur and shed tears, except that there are too many forces against the winds of dreamed destinies in countries like Nigeria. But, keep friends like Michael (Moshood Fattah) that help you achieve your dreams.

Far From Home
Far From Home (PHOTO – Netflix)

Drug addiction – as much as we would deny it, drug addiction is still a problem in Nigeria. And, while the film tells us it is only those who can afford it that are addicted, it is a general problem and a failure on the part of parents, teachers, and the government. We will all need to play our part to stop the trend collectively.

Stream of skip?

When you read a short story, you expect some details to be left out. But, when you pick up a novel, you expect the elaborate – the language, the storytelling, the characters…

It is the same with short stories, films and series.

“Far From Home” is a five-part series, so you would expect that it is elaborate enough for us to see tiny little details of how Oga Rambo and Oga Government became what they are – mainly because it was mentioned; we will understand what level of education Ishaya attained so we get a sense of how he would cope in Wilmer Academy; a scene at least showing the relationship between Atlas‘ parents…

Also, what if the ending was not so open-ended if there is no indication yet that there will be a season two?

Meanwhile, is it possible to remove distractions like Denrele, whose character is rather out of place and just everywhere like a newborn rat?

Overall, “Far From Home” is a good watch and you may not want to stop until you get to the last episode.

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