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A stranger with little strength

Played by Faridah Nabagereka, Mirembe the stranger in Mariam Ndagire’s new movie, Strength of a Stranger leaves one wondering where this stranger’s strength is.

The movie starts with a scene at a hospital, where doctors are attending to a female patient. Although the patient seems to be in pretty bad shape, one of the nurses, Jean Marie, played by Maureen Jolly, cannot stop making passes at Dr. Caesar, (Mike Dramani) infuriating Dr. Kalegeya (Wycliffe Luyombya).
Caesar is planning to wed his stay-in girlfriend, (Nabagereka) with whom they have three children, but his sister Maxensia (Mariam Ndagire) will not listen to anything before her problem is solved.
Maxensia wants to sell her portion of land the family inherited from their grandfather and Caesar will not have any of it.
The conflict results into family bickering, police cases and eventually the murder of Caesar.
Nabagereka takes on the role of a widow struggling to bring up a young family. Herself an orphan, this stranger to the family she was trying to marry into is locked in battles with her sister-in-law over property. She also has to find quick alternative accommodation for her family as the mean head of the hospital – Professor W played by Abby Mukiibi – where her husband worked wants her out of the hospital house reasoning that the hospital only gives accommodation to its living employees and not dead ones.
Although still good, Mukiibi’s role in the movie leaves one salivating for more. Knowing him, this Last King of Scotland star played a role that definitely leaves his fans feeling cheated.
To add to the stranger’s woes, Lawyer Musisi (Patrick Mujuuka) not only rapes her but tries to con her of the property she had so struggled to retain.
In the ensuing battles the widow gets into a major fight over children with Maxensia and her son (Jonan Kisibo). She hits him so badly that she ends up behind bars.
With all those afflictions, one wonders why the title for this movie was ‘the Strength of a Stranger’. If she was strong this stranger would not have needed much help from her best friend, Julie, (Esther Jacum) and Dr. Kalegeya to get anything done. Not forgetting her never ending tears, confusion and helplessness.
Not that the actress is not good, it is just that she makes one want to shake her and push some strength into her spine, if only to make the title appropriate.
One thing we must credit Ndagire about is the talent search. One could tell that this time the cast was chosen even more carefully. Directors will do good to keep people like Jamilah Mulindwa and Nabagereka closer, there is such great talent there waiting to be developed further. 
Sadly, Caesar’s stage father, Byarugaba, passed away a few days to the premiere of the movie.
With sub-titles and fine tuning of the sound, it will be a great movie to watch but still not better than Ndagire’s first project, Down this Road I Walk.  
ikiiza@observer.ug

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