Produced by Chinny Onwugbenu and directed by the delectable, Genevive Nnaji, LionHeart is the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria and also, Genevive’s directorial debut.
The movie which stars veterans like Pete Edochie, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Nkem Owoh and Genevive Nnaji herself, is a 95 mins transition of story, dialect and humour. The plot is a simple yet classy one where Adaeze Obiagu ( Genevive Nnaji) who we all think is the heir apparent gets substituted for her uncle, Godswill Obiagu (Nkem Owoh) when her father, Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie) can no longer run his transport company due to health issues. The movie starts from there to kill the expectancy of the stereotype of hate and malic as they work hard together to save the company from bankruptcy and greedy business man Igwe Pascal (Kanayo O. Kanayo)
It takes us no time to see that the movie is one which has come to shatter many stereotypes such as patriarchy, tribalism, and marriage.
Ernest Obiagu is the vehicle used to show us the beauty of the love between a father and daughter which no tradition can kill and emphasizes with his words, ‘you are the pendulum of my life, if you stop swinging them I am gone’, the extreme importance of the female child.
Adaeze Obiagu takes on the weight neatly with so much grace, polish and dedication, which radiates through the love she has for her father, the company and her family. Despite the presence of a male child, she is the father’s right hand and directly in control of the finances as shown in the scene where her younger brother, Obiora Obiagu (Chibuzo Azubike, Phyno) solicits her help when he needs money from their father to finance is music career.
Perhaps it is not over stretching to say that the scene where Godswill saves the Northern business man from ‘brothers’ such as himself is a perfect representation for the message of tribalism, and shattering of the stereotype that all Igbos love money (no matter the cost)
We can say that the heart of the movie is the beauty in the use of language, in this case the Igbo dialect, and all the culture that comes with it such as food, music and dance. The way they are all thrown at our faces, unapologetically causes a stir of deep love and reverence in our hearts. The movie also takes on the fractured relationship between the Igbo and Hausa and even gives us the prospect of a blossoming relationship between Adaeze and Yakubu.
Although, some things should have been worked on better, like the loan, and a proper research of the corporate world, it is definitely not overstretching to say that with this first attempt, there is something(great) to be seen in this movie as Netflix did, and Genevieve has left us wanting to see more.
Written by Shade Olaoye