This article will contain a rundown of the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021. The list will be selected based on Box Office sales and critical acclaim. The selection will also be based on my personal review of the movies.
The year 2021 saw normalcy returning to cinema culture in Nollywood after it was shut down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The year resumed with a couple of cinema releases even though most filmmakers have pivoted to Netflix as an alternative means of releasing Nigerian movies.
Below are the top ten Nigerian movies of 2021
10. Breaded Life
Breaded Life is a Cinderella meets Prince charming type of movie, it portrays the love story of a spoiled rich kid who meets and falls in love with a bread seller. Released on the 16th of April 2021, Breaded life stars actor Timini Egbuson playing a role that at this point feels cliche and actress Bimbo Ademoye as his co-star.
Breaded Life was written and directed by filmmaker Biodun Stephens and made quite a buzz at the Box Office despite its rather obvious storyline. According to the Cinematic Exhibitors Association of Nigeria, Breaded Life has made 88 million Naira at the Box Office. The movie definitely deserves a spot in the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021.
9. The Therapist
The Therapist is a story of women coming together to uplift themselves, it tells the journey of a woman who loses all her possessions in a divorce to her abusive husband. She puts her life back together brick by brick and begins to help other women get freedom from their bad marriages.
The Therapist was directed by Kayode Kasum and stars veteran actress Rita Dominic, Toyin Abraham and a host of other actors. While the movie has a solid plot, the story is mostly carried by its ensemble female cast who did a terrific job in interpreting their roles. It made over 26 million Naira at the Box Office.
Dwindle is a fast-paced action comedy movie that is bound to keep you at the edge of your seats. The film is directed by Kayode Kasum and Dare Olaitan, it tells the story of two friends whose life gets turned upside down after taking a bad decision. Packed with a host of star actors, the film does well to combine both the action and comedy genre with notably funny actors like Funke Akindele and Brother Shaggy.
While watching this movie, do not be surprised if you feel like you’re in a Deja Vu, as the movie thoroughly brings back memories of the hit action-comedy movie Sugar Rush. It made 43 million Naira at the Box Office and sits nicely in the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021.
Soole is a comedy thriller directed by Kayode Kasum, it features an ensemble cast of Nollywood veterans like Sola Sobowale, Adunni Ade and Lateef Adedimeji. Soole is a Yoruba slang that means cheap ride, the movie depicts a group of travellers who decide to take a cheap bus instead of making use of the bus park.
The movie makes use of the typical slapstick comedy style of average Nigerian films to portray its storyline, however, the movie is riddled with a lot of plot holes. The comedy blockbuster did quite well at the cinemas, making 49 million Naira 7 weeks after its release.
Prophetess comes from the stable of veteran filmmaker Niyi Akinmolahan, it is a hilarious work of comedy that is bound to have you laughing all through the film. The prophetess was one of the most anticipated cinema releases of 2021, it was heavily promoted on various social media platforms especially Twitter and Instagram. It stars a host of superstars like Toyin Abraham in lead roles alongside Kehinde Bankole and Lateef Adedimeji.
The film revolves around a Prophetess (Toyin Abraham) who successfully predicts the outcome of a couple of events but gets herself in trouble with the owner of a sports betting company after predicting the outcome of a football match. The Prophetess was a Box Office success, raking in 131 million Naira during its cinema run.
Prophetess does not only deliver as a comedy movie but surpasses the expectations of an average movie, especially with its musical score and cinematography. It is not only a comedic experience but also a beautiful spiritual experience.
A Naija Christmas is an intriguing family comedy movie that depicts the importance of family above anything else. The film was directed by veteran Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan and released on Netflix as Nollywood’s first Christmas film on the platform. A Naija Christmas is packed with numerous Nollywood stars and deserves a spot in one of the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021. It stars the late Rachael Oniga, Efa Iwara, Abayomi Alvin, Kunle Remi and a guest appearance by Fuji music icon Pasuma wonder.
The film revolves around a mother and her three sons, her only request is that they bring home a wife. She sweetens the deal when she promises to give the first one to bring home a wife the family house. This stirs up a competition between the first 2 sons, who want the house for different reasons. A Naija Christmas is a beautifully written movie with unique dialogues to keep the audience entertained. It uses cleverly delivered humour to convey its message and does not try to do too much.
4. La Femme Anjola
La Femme Anjola is a classic crime drama directed by Mildred Okwo and stars Nollywood veteran Rita Dominic and Nonso Bassey. It is the story of a young stockbroker Nonso Bassey, who falls in love and begins a sexual relationship with Anjola, the wife of a gangster.
The film received praise for its writing, directing and exceptional acting by both lead actors. It received multiple award nominations at the prestigious African Movies Academy Awards. It made over 20 million Naira at the Box Office and sits comfortably in the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021.
3. Aki & Pawpaw
After dominating the videotape and video disc era of Nollywood, Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze’s Aki & Pawpaw make a return to our screens after 19 years. The slapstick comedy movie was still able to pull a huge number in sales despite critics commenting on the film’s inability to connect to a more mature audience. In just its third week of screening at the cinemas, it has grossed over 100 million Naira. Though Aki & Pawpaw has little to offer in terms of a unique storyline or plot, the power of nostalgia that the film has cannot be downplayed.
Eyimofe (This is my desire) is the story of struggle that any average Nigerian can relate to. After dominating film festivals all over the world, it debuted in Nigerian cinemas in April 2021 to great reviews. The film was rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and received multiple nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards, winning four awards.
Eyimofe tells the story of two people who grew up in the same neighbourhood and try all they can to leave the country for greener pastures. Though the movie received immense praise and honours from both critics and award shows, it did not do so well at the Box Office. It made just 1.9 million Naira during its cinema run.
1.No. 1 on the list of the top 10 Nigerian movies of 2021 is Ayinla
Ayinla is a musical Biopic directed by Nollywood legendary filmmaker Tunde Kelani. Ayinla is the story of the rise to fame of Nigerian music legend Ayinla Omowura, it stars actor Lateef Adedimeji in the lead role. The movie is set in the late 70s to early 80s and this era was beautifully depicted by director Tunde Kelani. Ayinla is an astonishing movie with many things that makes it stand out. The musical score, the cinematography, costume and acting make it a flawless movie. The attention to detail proves to us that Tunde Kelani is indeed a master at his craft. The movie grossed 91 million Naira at the Box Office.