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'Just in Time' is a sunshiny, feel-good type of movie that makes for easy watching, a new-ish genre in Kenya

Actress Sarah Hassan during the 9th Kalasha Awards at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Just in Time movie recently got a host of nominations at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA): Best Overall Movie, Best Actress in a comedy, Best Picture Editor, Best Cinematographer, Best Movie East Africa and Best Sound Track.

The film was written, directed and co-produced by Nigerian filmmaker, Dolapo Adeleke, and produced by Kenyan actress and producer, Sarah Hassan. 

Muthoni Kimani’s life is going alright until the script is flipped on her. She is the manager of a family-owned business, but now that the patriarch of the Bhakshi family has passed on, his daughter, Aditi (Eve D’souza) seems to have other plans for the family business.

Muthoni (Sarah Hassan) finds herself out of a job and feels that she has nothing to show for the past seven years of her life because her entire being was dedicated to the job.

Maureen (Christabel Jazz Mistri), is the hilariously saccharine co-ordinator of the WSCI (Working Sisters Crushing It), who hates her job, but is dedicated to it, calls to remind her of the WSCI workshop she had applied for via Instagram.

To her surprise, the speaker at the workshop (Lydiah Gitachu) sparks something in her and awakening her spirit to a new beginning, she decides to go to Zanzibar.

Her excitement is short-lived as her once-close, but now estranged cousin, Njeri (Pierra Makena) calls her up out of the blue. She needs her to take care of her daughter, Ashley, as she and her husband work through the kinks of their divorce.

Ashley (Stycie Waweru) is smart and snappy.

The casting of this movie was very good, with everyone seemingly nailing their roles, no matter how minor, as is to be expected of a film that has been nominated for Best Overall Movie.

Unsurprisingly, Sarah Hassan is fantastic in this. Her acting is top-notch as we have come to expect, and she has clearly grown from her days in Tahidi High where she was already good and has fallen into a comfortable role as a lead actress of choice. You can clearly see why she was a runaway choice for Best Actress in a comedy.

You cannot help, but be impressed by Stycie Waweru, the child actress, and is, for sure, one to watch in the years to come. She is very believable in her role, and this would be one of the perfect movies to watch if only to say you saw her early beginnings.

Pierra Makena also delivers a sterling performance as Njeri, and you find yourself truly empathising with her as she grapples with her divorce.

A particularly poignant moment shines through when Ashley, who loves reading, discovers that Kobena (the stranger in their life) has dyslexia. The film handles the subject brilliantly, with Kobena’s initial embarrassment at being unable to read and the resolution of it.

Do not expect fireworks. The premise of the film is not groundbreaking and does not pretend to try, but what it does, it does well. Great acting, a great, plummy film score, beautiful set, great cinematography, great directing.

It is a sunshiny, feel-good type of movie that makes for easy watching, a new-ish genre in Kenya and a successful collaboration of people from different countries, who all brought their A-game.