Written by Evi Idoghor
I haven’t written about a movie in a minute! Then I came across this masterpiece on Netflix titled Miracle in cell no.7. I was excitedly blown away by the storyline, the plot twist, the emotions of the characters, and the pure display of love between a grandmother, daughter, and an intellectually disabled father. This post will contain spoilers, if you don’t care about that (like me) then keep reading—in my opinion, this movie is a definite must-see!
But first, let’s recount what has been going on with me…
I thoroughly enjoyed my first official day of the lockdown measure imposed by the federal government of Nigeria, due to the craziness happening around the world. I am usually a homebody, so for me, the opportunity to stay home and not worry about Lagos traffic is a definite win!
Prior to this I was on vacation for two weeks and had to halt my travel plans again due to the craziness. The two weeks of vacation were quite tough because I mourned the loss of my trips that I and friends had been planning for the past six months. I have not seen most of them since I moved back in 2017, and was looking forward to the grand reunion before this craziness began!
So many thoughts ran through my mind—why didn’t we plan to go in January or February? Why was my friend born in March and not February (haha.) I was distraught when I woke up that morning to our WhatsApp group chat saying that the trip was postponed, two days before I was supposed to leave Nigeria!
Hence, the first two weeks of being home weren’t it for me at all. That is why I haven’t written so much on the blog (and now this post is about to be a long one, but it’s interesting! So stick with me) anyway thanks to Jesus for giving me a clear mind—all the anxiety I was also dealing with has disappeared.
Related Post: Lion (Movie Review)
So back to my evening at home yesterday, when I decided to watch this awesome movie titled—Miracle in Cell no. 7. After some slight work during the day, my cousin and I decided to cozy up to this story of a lifetime (I’m such a lover of great stories).
The movie opens up with a young woman who looks like she is in her late 20s, dressed in a white wedding dress, holding a piece of metal, while listening to the news about the death penalty being abolished in turkey. She looks quite sad as the scene fades into the background.
Then we are thrust back into 1983, in the month of April, with a little girl who is being decorated by her teacher. As that event is taking place in the school, a man who is carried away by the scenery outside of the school is lost in his own world and acting a little bit weird, with me immediately coming into the conclusion that he must have some form of mental disability because he wasn’t quite acting his age.
As soon as school is out, the young kids run outside to meet their parents. The little girl who got a price from her teacher runs outside and spots the weird guy and quickly runs up to him, with him being elated by just catching a glimpse of his little daughter beaming with joy racing into her father’s arms. The other kids make fun of Ova’s father by calling him crazy in their local dialect.
Ova and her father make it to a local shop and she spots one of her favorite characters on a backpack that she wants her father to purchase for her. The store owner tells them how much it costs, but Ova and her father Memo, can’t afford it. The store owner is nice enough to offer it to them at whatever price they could afford at the moment, and then pay the balance later, but Memo is reluctant.
He promises his daughter that he would sell some apples dipped in candy the next day at a parade and will buy the bag for her with the money he makes from the sale. So they leave the shop like two young kids skipping home after a long day at school.
Now, these pair lives with Memo’s grandma who is Ova’s great-grandmother. Ova’s mother is dead and has become an angel; the best way Memo can describe the loss of his wife to his daughter (I am guessing his grandma explained it to him that way).
Ova the next day asks her great-grandmother as they are preparing the candy for the apples why her father is different from the other dads at school, and the great-grandma explains that he is special, and he is about the same age as his daughter. Ova is so thrilled that her father is also her age mate, but obviously, this is only mentally.
Pictured above: Ova, Memo, and Grandma
So the parade rolls around and Memo sells his apples dripping in candy. He is also excited to see his daughter march in the parade. After all of that is done, he takes the proceeds and his daughter to go get her dream bag. As they get to the store, Ova’s classmate is seen wearing the backpack with none left for them to buy (sad, right?) then the storekeeper reassures them that he would order some more, but as a six-year-old man, Memo can’t wrap his head around it.
He runs after his daughter’s classmate and her military dad, pulling the bag from her back, whilst offering them the money, with her father giving him the dirtiest slap! Memo falls to the ground, and Ova runs over to console her father.
Memo is also a shepherd in his village and is tending his flock around the same area where a group of the military elites are enjoying a day out barbequing with their families. The children run off to play around the area where Memo is, and they start playing with him. They tease him by calling him crazy and of course being unaware of their insult he dances around with them.
Then he spots the military dad’s daughter with her backpack amongst the kids and he goes after her. The rest of the children return to the picnic area for food, while the little girl remains to play hide and seek with Memo.
As she runs high into the rocky area, Memo tries to tell her to stop, because of the danger of falling off a cliff in that area. She refuses to listen and keeps going, then trips up and falls into the stream, but not without hitting her head on the rock. Memo immediately dives into the water to save her, but by then it’s too late.
Being at the wrong place at the wrong time
Around this time, the military wife notices that her daughter is nowhere to be found. She immediately panics, telling her husband to go find her. The husband goes to the area where the kids were playing and comes in contact with a sight he never dreamed possible. He screams with anguish with people holding him back, as he sees Memo with his lifeless daughter not being able to explain what happened.
You guys already know where this is going…Miracle in cell no. 7… of course Memo is arrested and given the beating of his life. That was when the story began to fight with my emotions.
He is thrown into prison, into cell no.7 with some hardened criminals, who don’t care where he came from and decide to beat him up at night while he is asleep. Memo keeps asking the guards if he can go home!
I said to my cousin at that point—e be like say this guy no know where he dey! Then I had to pull out my investigation discovery hat—this poor man is entitled to a lawyer! Can’t they see that he is clearly not okay? How do they think he can intentionally hurt a child? Where is the defense team? But wetin consine American law with Turkish dealings? Two completely different worlds!
Memo is sentenced to death by hanging, and his grandma immediately breaks down in tears during the hearing. As he sees his grandmother’s emotions, that is when he realizes all isn’t well. All he wants to do is to be with his Ova.
As time goes on those in his cell begin to realize that there is actually something wrong with Memo. There is no way this guy can be a murderer they mutter amongst themselves. So they set out to help him. Memo’s biggest desire is to see his daughter, so they figure out a way to sneak her in.
One of the prisoners has his family who always does his dirty work for him, they are sent to Memo’s house to lure his daughter saying to the little girl that her father requests to see her. Ova is smart enough to leave her great-grandma a note saying that she had gone off to see dad.
On getting to the prison, with the help of some people, she sneaks into cell no. 7! Memo is so happy to see her. They cannot leave each other’s side. Memo reveals to her at some point that a one-eyed giant had witnessed the whole event. The little girl is then tasked with finding the one-eyed giant so her father can be set free. While all of this is happening the order for Memo’s execution is already signed. Mr. Boss Military (The General) wants to avenge his daughter’s death by all means.
They eventually find this so-called one-eyed giant, everyone is happy including Memo’s cellmates, because there is a great chance that if the guy testifies, Memo would be set free. The military guy is then informed that there is a witness, and his daughter’s death could purely be an accident, he seeks out to eliminate the witness, and he does. Now Memo’s case is screwed.
Ova is taken to see her father one last time before his execution, and she has no idea what is about to take place. While she goes to visit him that day, she reveals to him that grandma is now an angel, and Memo loses it! He weeps like a little child over the loss of his grandmother. The other prisoners can’t console him.
Then they vow amongst themselves to find a way to help him. Now Ova is locked in an embrace with her dad who begins to say—Memo, execution, Memo execution! She looks over to her teacher and the warden to see if what Memo is saying is true and she begins to cry with her dad! That was when I lost it completely.
Can’t they see that he is the only one that the girl has? Where is the miracle in this story? Can’t someone go in his place? Where is Jesus in all of this? My cousin tried to explain that the miracle was the fact that he was able to touch the lives of those he shared a cell with. How they now wanted to be better men for their families is in fact a testimony. And God sometimes allowed bad things to happen if there was going to be a greater benefit.
But I was like nope! This is rubbish! Injustice at its highest peak! Doesn’t anyone know God? Can’t they cry out to Him? I know I can be crazy when I watch movies, I get lost in the stories and I am on the journey with them. Although the teacher and warden assured Ova that he would be back home in a few days, it was already a done deal. Ova tells her dad—you will sleep and wake up, sleep and wake up and you will be home (the faith of a little child!) The teacher tries to fight for Memo’s release, but it is out of the warden’s hands because they are dealing with someone in the military.
Execution day arrives and there is not a dry eye in cell no. 7. Memo hugs all his cellmates and tells them good-bye, not knowing what his fate is about to be. As he makes his way out of the cell, he is ushered into the place where the hanging will take place. No this isn’t death by lethal injection; it is death by hanging, for a crime he did not commit. After the execution is done, the warden drives up to the house where the little girl stays with her teacher to tell her of the news. He starts off by presenting her with a piece of metal that someone wants her to have.
Then he begins recounting the story of how the metal came about....
Two days earlier, while the honorable members of cell 7 are deliberating on how to save Memo, one of them decides that he is going to be the sacrificial lamb, basically Jesus. He is going to take the place of Memo, and give Memo a chance to be with his daughter.
He reveals to the others that he had a dream, and really there is no life for him after he gets out of jail, so what is the point? Although this is not the resolution they had intended, but the guy is adamant that it is what he wants to do. So they sorrowfully pray for him and say their goodbyes. They plan with the warden to delay the General who wants to witness Memo’s execution and then put the other prisoner in his place, while they smuggle Memo out of jail!
Before the sacrificial lamb goes to his execution, he presents the warden with a piece of metal, stating it is the only valuable thing he has, and he wants the little girl to have it. As the warden finishes telling the story, Memo creeps out from the back of the van and runs to meet his daughter!
It so happens that the young lady at the start of the film is a grown-up version of Ova, who was still holding on to the piece of metal as she listened to the news about the death penalty being abolished in Turkey.
Love conquers all— Woven throughout the theme of the movie was the fact that love is the greatest thing of all! It didn’t matter to Ova or great-grandma that Memo had a disability, they loved him with all of their hearts regardless. Memo although intellectually disabled was able to understand the language of love, and he gave it back to his daughter and grandmother.
The love he and his daughter shared was what inspired his cellmates to get their act together with their own families and also help him have a life with Ova. They believed that there was no way Memo could hurt a fly, let alone kill a child. Everyone including the warden fought tooth and nail to make sure he survived. That is the kind of love God wants us to have for Him and for each other. (Matthew 22:37-40)
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus
What that cellmate did for Memo and Ova was the greatest love that there is to mankind. He disregarded his own life because he believed that another person would benefit from that sacrifice. And that was what Jesus did for us. This message is very timely with Easter right around the corner and the craziness happening around the world.
We all need to be reminded that if Jesus could sacrifice His life for us, there is nothing else that He can ever withhold from us. Romans 8:32 says—“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” As long as there is life, there is hope, as long as there is love there is hope. Love indeed is the greatest gift of all, and Miracle in Cell no. 7 embodied every aspect of it.
This awesome movie is a remake of the Korean original movie with the same title. Whoever came up with the concept of this movie deserves an award! The Turkish version, which is one I watched, was directed by Mehmet Ada Oztekin. Memo was played by Aras Bulut Iynemli and Ova was depicted by the lovely Nisa Sofiya Aksongur. The actors in this movie did a remarkable job!