6.1/10
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23 user 46 critic

Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)

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Sisters Olanna and Kainene return home to 1960s Nigeria, where they soon diverge on different paths. As civil war breaks out, political events loom larger than their differences as they join the fight to establish an independent republic.

Director:

Biyi Bandele

Writers:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (novel), Biyi Bandele (screenplay)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thandie Newton ... Olanna
Chiwetel Ejiofor ... Odenigbo
Anika Noni Rose ... Kainene
Joseph Mawle ... Richard
John Boyega ... Ugwu
Onyeka Onwenu Onyeka Onwenu ... Mama
Babou Ceesay ... Okeoma
Susan Wokoma ... Amala
Jude Orhorha Jude Orhorha ... Harrison
Genevieve Nnaji ... Miss Adebayo
Gloria Young Gloria Young ... Aunty Ifeka
Tina Mba Tina Mba ... Mrs. Ozobia
Wale Ojo ... Chief Okonji
Ayo Lijadu Ayo Lijadu ... Professor Ezeka
Naya Amobi Naya Amobi ... Arize
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Storyline

Sisters Olanna and Kainene return home to 1960s Nigeria, where they soon diverge on different paths. As civil war breaks out, political events loom larger than their differences as they join the fight to establish an independent republic.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two sisters, schooled in England, raised in Nigeria. Now on the brink of civil war, two lovers committed to freedom, displaced by conflict, ready to sacrifice everything. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Website

Country:

Nigeria | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Half a Yellow Sun See more »

Filming Locations:

Nigeria See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

NGN 1,270,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,843, 16 May 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$53,645, 8 August 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nigeria somehow feel betrayed for casting international acts in the lead role. See more »


Soundtracks

Bere Bote
Written and Performed by Cardinal Rex Lawson
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User Reviews

 
I'm sorry, I just didn't like it.
13 April 2014 | by runganonyoniSee all my reviews

This film is a great example of some incredible archive footage ruined by a boring, mediocre and incoherent film in between.

Yes, I have read the book. I wasn't expecting a literal screen translation of the book, as the book covers a vast array of characters, but I did expect the essence of it to be retained.

It wasn't.

The film follows the lives of twin sisters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Akina Noni Rose) right after Nigeria gets its independence from the British and through to the Biafran war, as the Igbo people struggle to establish an independent republic. The film (similar to the book) tries to follow the lives of these 2 affluent young women, their relationships with men and with one another set against a significant historical event in Nigeria.

I went to watch this film specifically to support African Cinema and exited about a Nigerian Director making a film with a strong cast. I was bitterly disappointed with the lazy result.

Firstly the performances; Chiwetel Ejiofor is ever earnest in his role as Olanna's lover Odenigbo. He is OK, not offensive and gives a similar performance as he did in 12 years a slave. Thandie Newton is horrific. She has literally two expressions. I like to think its to do with the bad direction, someone should have told her she's over-acting .

The worst and best performance came from Odenigbo's Mother played by Onyeka Onwenu. What can I say. The best is that she was very entertaining, funny and a joy to watch. What made it the worst was that it belonged to a different film. A film I would have preferred to watch by the way. Her performance added a quality of a soap opera to the film. Anika had the strongest performance among them and deserves a mention for it.

The film has two parts, the first comes across as a cheap soap opera and the second, a cheap action movie. Choices that were made baffled me. Scenes played out that were pointless and didn't add much to the plot, making the first half plod along longer than it should have. The second half was riddled with inconsistencies and poor editing. Characters were introduced just as quickly as they were killed off. I am not sure why it was important to illustrate on a map were everyone was, that added nothing.

But the biggest problem with the film is that it lacked a director, a proper director. There wasn't anyone keeping the actors believable, controlling the movement of the camera, having a coherent edit or keeping tabs on the horrendous sound score.

Unbelievably the producers also produced Constant Gardener and should have known better than this. How can you allow an inexperienced Director to helm such a significant film? It's arrogant and irresponsible.

I am African (yes, I know it's a continent), I applaud any one trying to make our stories for an audience outside of the continent but this effort was so poor that I had to write about it. We can do much better than this.


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