6.2/10
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22 user 46 critic

Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)

R | | Drama, Romance | 16 May 2014 (USA)
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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:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Olanna
... Odenigbo
... Kainene
... Richard
... Ugwu
Onyeka Onwenu ... Mama
... Okeoma
... Amala
Jude Orhorha ... Harrison
... Miss Adebayo
Gloria Young ... Aunty Ifeka
Tina Mba ... Mrs. Ozobia
... Chief Okonji
Ayo Lijadu ... Professor Ezeka
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:

Divided by war. United by love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Website

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|

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Release Date:

16 May 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Half a Yellow Sun  »

Filming Locations:

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was among Nollywood Most Highly Anticipated Film in 2013. See more »


Soundtracks

My Little Suede Shoes
Written by Charlie Parker
Performed by Tony Kofi and His Quintet
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User Reviews

 
A family torn apart by their countries conflict in which they have little control over - should have been so much better.

Half A Yellow Sun really should have been a mini-series for television and that is the main problem here. It's an epic story with a plethora of characters being rammed into a small running time and as such it struggles to find its emotional center. Set in the late 1960s the film is set during the turmoil that followed Nigeria's independence. Accusations of tribal racism soon led to a civil war resulting in part of the country succeeding in its own state of Bifra - much of this is shown through the use of documentary clips and newsreel footage, which sadly were more interesting and engrossing than the actual movie.

The story centers around the relationship between two daughters, Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are brought up in a wealthy politically connected household. Both filled with a sense of entitlement the two leads don't make for especially sympathetic characters though the gutsy dry witted Kainene grows on you after a while thanks to a great performance by Rose. Olanna is engaged to be married to political intellectual Odenigbo (Ejiofor) while Kainene is quick to jump between the sheets with white businessman Richard (Joseph Mawle) another characters perspective comes from newly appointed houseboy Ugbo (John Boyega) who cooks and cleans at the house of Olanna and Odenigbo and is a witness to Odenigbo infidelities.

Much of the early scenes is spent establishing tribal tension between Odenigbo's mother (Onyeka Onwenu - excellent performance) and Olanna and on Odenigbo having political discussions with other friends he invites over where he continues to blame the white man for the countries problems. The latter focuses on the tribal civil war that followed the break away state and is set over several years following the characters attempts to continue a normal life.

I have no doubt that the book, which I haven't read (but will as soon as I can get my hands on a copy) paints the characters in much more dimensions than was allowed here. Here in lies the flaws of this film - Characters are painted either too stereo typically such as Odenigbo who comes across as an annoying superior hypocrite or too thinly such as Richard whose core motivations and emotions are never real to us until the final reel. Olanna is given the most screen time and she is the least appealing of the main characters, allowing herself to be a victim one minute then abrasive the next with everyone around her. Much of the script feels forced and trite and there's too many other characters whose screen time is too little yet whose deaths are played out as having major importance and significance yet we struggle to remember who they really were. I'm surprised that such a big budget film was given to a first time director but then you can't really blame him pulled from pillar to post as I am sure he would have been - the film does reek of too many cooks and really should have been made into a mini series, this would have allowed a broader stroke of scenes and story line to make the main characters more appealing and also given the minor characters more of an impact so their loss is keenly felt once it comes. The acting here is really variable too with only Joseph Mawle in an extremely underwritten part and John Boyega coming through completely unscathed. It's not a film without its merits or strong moments but ultimately it is a flawed film that has no where near the emotional impact that it should have done and that is chiefly because you do not care about the characters on screen enough to be fully engaged in their journey.


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