19 Apr 2022
Precious Mustapha, David Webber, Paterson Joseph
The internet is a wild place and it gets wilder each day. The metaverse, cryptocurrency, NFTs, you name it - it’s a pretty crazy ‘place’ to be right now. It’s made a lot crazier when you add the world of influencers - online personalities who make millions from their content into the equation. From boxing matches to five second dances to unspeakable acts with cats, they’ve contributed a lot to the the crazy stuff on the internet though. Fortunately, we haven’t quite reached the level of insanity in ‘Daddy’s Girl’ just yet, though given how unpredictable the internet can be, it may only be a matter of time.
The day the world holds an internet olympics please let me know, I’ll go and become hermit. Regardless, by some twisted turn of fate, that’s what’s happened in the world of ‘Daddy’s Girl’, with one of it’s competitors, Sade (Precious Mustapha), eventually realising the sick nature of the so-called sports. Sade is, of course, the daddy’s girl in question, living with, and caring for her father, Richard (David Webber), who suffers from dementia. It’s a big burden on Sade to care for her father - it restricts her employment opportunities and has left her in debt, facing eviction.
Just as that big-red notice comes up on her futuristic screen that she’ll be forced to leave within the next fourteen days, she is offered a lifeline to scrounge up some money. She’s given three choices - sell her kidney (effective but painful); start an only stans (oh dear); or participate in the influencer olympics (what has the world come to). Sade chooses the best of a bad bunch and is immediately greeted by the voice of Saul (Paterson Joseph), who sets out the rules, conditions and most importantly the rewards - 500,000 digicoins.
The grasp the technology has on Sade is creepy and a little perverse, though entirely unrealistic. The relationship between Sade and her father works far more effectively, giving us an idea of how Richard feels as well as Sade. The film is terrific at creating empathy for Richard, but it isn’t for Sade, who comes across as belligerent and impatient when she should be the exact opposite. Whilst Sade’s character is a nut which director Jessica Magaye can’t quite crack, that is to no fault of Precious Mustapha, who performs admirably and works competently integrating her performance with a whole host of special effects. David Webber is similarly impressive as her father, stealing his scenes and playing the role well. Paterson Joseph effectively plays the creepy voice of Saul, loaning his low, subtly threatening tone to the film.
Although Jessica Magaye may have failed to break into the character of Sade, she directs the film well otherwise, playing with a weird concept and integrating it with some deeper themes to mixed success. Nevertheless, the camerawork is neat, and although it doesn’t jump out of the screen, it is at least competently directed. The script, which Magaye also wrote, is fairly tight, though occasionally leans too heavily on melodrama.
Whilst Magaye should undeniably be praised for creating such a brave, inventive story, ‘Daddy’s Girl’ almost suffers as a result of it. Ultimately, it’s highlights are in its performances and the subplot of her father’s dementia, not in the technological mayhem which Sade is engaging in. So although there are some important themes and not too subtle messages about dementia and technology, it never quite manages to overcome the absurdity of it’s premise.