Movie Review - 'Half Of A Yellow Sun'

Pulse.ng's Joey Akan reviews 'Half Of A Yellow Sun', the greatest Nigerian love story ever told.

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The book ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ can be called anything. Nostalgic, sorrowful, poignant, brilliant…and they’re all correct. Chimamanda Adichie, yet to pen a bland work, delivered on the Biafran story, telling it from the standpoint of a Universal Language – Love.

For it to come alive on the screens, it needed the best of funds, the most meticulous of directors, talents of cast, and a crew cut from pure legend. It got all of that.

The soft spoken, but rather geeky-looking Nigerian-born director, Biyi Bandele, took it upon himself to make a movie to be remembered for all seasons. Putting together an amazing top-dollar crew, and moving the filming location to Calabar (Not Ireland, or South Africa, but Calabar!) was a masterstroke.

Many a time have we seen a good book go to waste because the characters were played by above-average mediocre cast, but in this movie, it was not to be. The lead roles were assigned to true professionals. Leading them all was Grammy Award Nominee, Chiwetele Ejiofor, who was in tandem with the elegant and beautiful Thandie Newton.

Through and through the cast was special. Away from the lead roles, the supporting cast was also culled from top thespians. Genevieve Nnaji, Zack Orji, Anika Noni Rose, OC Ukeje (who played just a scene), Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Oyeka Owenu, Gloria Young, and others filled up all the bit-part roles that could easily have gone to inexperienced sprogs.

The movie tells Weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of war. Olanna (Newton) and Kainene (Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices which takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and possess the ability to touch everyone's hearts.

With amazing cinematography, all of that was achieved. We experience an interplay of romance, passion, tears, laughter, and sacrifice all put together. The Biafran story has been told on our screens from a thousand viewpoints, but above all of them, is love.

Olanna is the hero of it all. A young woman, with a degree from Yale, she was the toast of everyone. But she showed remarkable strength, resolve, patience, loyalty and love  until the end.

Love made Olanna forgive her lover when he succumbed to the pleasures of another woman. Loyalty made her refuse to escape to London with her family when an opening was bought by her wealthy parents. Choosing to stay with her lover, and hazard the dangerous war. At each turn, she showed strength in character and a large heart. Even when her wedding ceremony, a silver lining in all the darkness of war around her, was marred by air raids and the death of her friend, she still persevered.

The end of the movie though, leaves a sad, warm feeling. Olanna’s twin sister, Kainene, who went behind enemy lines to profiteer from the war was lost. She is still missing to this day. Making closure, a distant dream.

The movie will hit the Nigerian cinemas on April 25, in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, Uyo, Warri, Asaba, Calabar, and Benin.

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