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This is my first attempt at a movie review so here goes…I was invited to a private screening for the movie Half of a yellow sun which took place yesterday at Silverbird Cinemas in Victoria Island.

I grabbed my popcorn (sugar please!) and sprite and headed into the theatre to watch the movie. By the way Silverbird still has the best popcorn…ever!

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The movie opened with scenes with Olana (played by Thandie Newton – Mission: Impossible II, The Pursuit of Happyness) and Kanine (played by Anika Noni Rose – Dreamgirls, For Coloured Girls..), the elegant and intellectual daughters of a wealthy Igbo businessman.

At this point I will digress and tell you that I am a huge fan of the novel written by Chimamanda Adichie.  And Kanine was my favourite character. I was concerned about Olana and Kanine being played by non Nigerian actresses, but American actress Anika Noni Rose embodied the character of Kanine perfectly.

 

It took me a bit of time to warm up to Thandie Newton as Olana but she won me over about halfway into the movie in some emotional scenes with revolutionary Odenigbo played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

After the first few scenes I felt the movie dragged for a little bit but it picked up momentum and I become immensely engrossed in the gripping story as it moved on to the Biafran war and how lives were torn apart by it.

 

For those of you going to watch this movie make sure you take some tissue, some of the scenes are super emotional and I am not ashamed to say I shed a few tears…LOL

Oscar nominate Chiwetel Ejiofor’s acting was so powerful. His accent was mind blowing. I did not hear a trace of a British accent or a faux Nigerian accent (you know…the Nigerian accent Hollywood actors do that really sounds East African)

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Onyeka Onwenu…my goodness she is an amazing actor! She was Odenigbo’s mother and a thorne in the flesh of Olana! I will not give too much of the movie away but the scene when she told Olana “I am too old to die young from smoking” was epic!

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22 year old John Boyega stole my heart…his portrayal of Ugwu was impressive, providing a lot of laughs during the movie.

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Genevieve Nnaji who played the role of Ms Adebayo, one of Odenigbo’s colleagues at University if Nsukka had about 3 scenes in this movie. As a huge fan of Genevieve, I felt she didn’t exactly shine in this role, most of her scenes were unmemorable (except for when her character flirted with Odenigbo), absolutely no fault of hers to be honest I guess it’s just the way the script was written.

I wish OC Ukeje had more scenes! He only had one! He is such an amazing actor

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It was great to watch a Nigerian/Nollywood movie in which the special effects looked so real (none of that fake pishaun pishaun shooting that is common place in Nollywood films). The bomb scenes felt so real, everyone in the theatre got startled each time a bomb went off in the movie. I was also amazed by the attention to detail, the movie spans about 10 years starting in the 1960s and ending in the 70s.  The props were amazing and true to that period.

 

The movie lost me at a point and I felt my mind wander for a bit, but the gripping, emotional and tempestuous story of half of a yellow sun grabbed me right back. Chiwetel and the rest of the cast gave a stellar performance.

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Half of Yellow Sun is a gripping, heartfelt and emotional story and at the core of the story is love. Biyi Bandele the director did an excellent job bringing the book and the Biafra war to life. I love how he included real life news footage from that era n the movie.

As for the comments about the accents of Thandie Newton & Kanine in the book Olanna & Kanine studied in the UK and US most of their lives, therefore we can’t expect their accents to be typical Nigerian…although Thandie’s pronunciation of some Nigerian cities were questionable…

 

I am not sure what the age rating for this movie is as there were some sex scenes…we even caught hints of Thandie’s nipple during her lovemaking scene with Chiwetel.

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Six years in the making, $15 Million budget and the movie is finally here. Let’s support Nigerian cinema! Half Of A Yellow Sun premieres nationwide on April 25th.

Like any movie it had it’s flaws, but If I had to give an overall score for acting, story line, special effects, props and production, I would give the movie 9/10…Yep it’s that good!

5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT #HOAYS
  • The movie was filmed in 33 days.
  • It was filmed entirely on location in Calabar.
  • 3 days after the movie wrapped filming, Chiwetel started shooting 12 Years A Slave for which he was nominated for The Best Actor Oscar and won The BAFTA award for best actor.
  • Thandie Newton contracted typhoid fever during filming and worked through her illness. Most of the cast and crew caught either malaria or typhoid  or even both during filming but that never halted production.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor committed  to the project when the movie rights for the book were bought six years ago.

 

WILL YOU WATCH HALF OF A YELLOW SUN WHEN IT COMES OUT?

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