This is my own kind of review for Half of a Yellow Sun which was originally written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read the book when my book club read it early this year and I completely loved it. Favorite character when I read was Ugwu. Anyway, somehow, I feel I should do this and here it is.
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Odenigbo
Thandie Newton – Olanna
Anika Noni Rose – Kainene
John Boyega – Ugwu
Zach Orji – Chief Ozobia
Onyeka Onwenu – Mama
Tina Mba – Mrs Ozobia
Genevieve Nnaji – Miss Adebayo
Gloria Young – Kainene/Olanna’s aunt
O.C Ukeje – Aniekwena
Wale Ojo – Minister
Joseph Mawie – Richard
Babou Ceesay – Okeoma
Susan Wokoma – Amara
Paul Hampshire – Prof Lehman
Location – Nigeria, London
Time – 111 minutes
The movie started with the big disco ball thing that I didn’t understand but anyway that’s by the side. I love the clips/footages they kept on inserting for reference purposes. It made it even better for me seeing as I knew little or nothing about what happened during that era (Saw how Nigerians trouped out en masse to wave at the queen and it was hilarious to me).
Then, I loved everything about Wale Ojo who played the Minister in the movie. His accent and costume were okay. Generally, the costume completely throughout the movie was very good. The location and the props? Even better. I also loved the occasions where I saw Tina Mba (Mrs Ozobia) and Gloria Young (Kainene/Olanna’s aunt) in the movie (somehow, I regard both as great Nollywood actresses so I’m guessing that’s why). Then, Kainene’s dance with Richard Churchill in the club, wonderful. Did I say I also enjoyed the music they played in the movie too? (The music was very good but I’m just asking, weren’t we supposed to hear ‘Bother You’ by D’banj at some point? I thought it was the theme song for the movie?)
Also, still on the things I liked, Onyeka Onwenu’s (Mama) act in the movie was great. Typical Nigerian Igbo mother I would say. Plus her song she composed using her son’s name? I loved it! My favorite person in the movie has to be Anika Noni Rose (Kainene Ozobia). The grace she exuded was simply amazing – the time where she had to be taken a shot at the Independence party, the way she sat down when she came to Olanna’s, her looks, her dresses, everything. She was amazing. I also enjoyed John Boyega (Ugwu) even though I felt more light should have been thrown on him. I mean, he was my favorite character when I read the book. We didn’t see the part where he had a girlfriend who lived down the street and all the interesting moments he had.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Odenigbo) was an awesome choice of actor really. I tried searching for someone who would play that and I didn’t see and I actually hope the hair on his chest was just costume. As for Joseph Mawie (Richard), I only felt him when he was trying to win Kainene. He became boring after. Dude almost ate Olanna’s mouth when they kissed.
For Olanna (Thandie Newton), I think she did her best. I would have however loved to see a Nigerian play that – Genevieve Nnaji or even Rita Dominic. I didn’t quite feel her pronunciation of almost all the Igbo words. The Igbo was much better with Odenigbo and Kainene. But I loved her nevertheless. And I hated her when she told Ugwu to switch off the kerosene stove and “firewood is a luxury where you come from” (I felt her taking jab at Nigerians generally). Miss Adebayo (Genevieve Nnaji) was okay. A switch would have been okay -Thandie for Miss Adebayo and Genevieve for Olanna. Thandie has a lot of anger I would have loved to see from Miss Adebayo.
Part of my problem with the movie was the fact that we didn’t know how the characters moved. People were just travelling across the scenes. One minute, Olanna is in Nsukka and the next minute she’s off to Kano and then Lagos. There were diagrams kinda but they were not consistent. Even Mama, Ugwu and a lot traveled without the viewers knowing. Then I’ll say, the movie lacked a lot of details you know? Like when Kainene and Richard first met, whose house did they end up having sex? Small but important details. And the part where Olanna returned when Mama and Amala were traveling, did Odenigbo actually drive them or just put them in the car and came back inside? Then, how did Miss Adebayo know of Kainene Ozobia? She asked Richard about her and you’re like where did that come from? And then whose breasts did Olanna suckle on if not her mum’s and why? (Seeing as Mama used that against her)
Anyway, I believe it’s an adaptation and considering the fact that the book was a great read, you won’t really find an adaptation close to or something so I’ll rate it a 5.5 on a scale of 1-10. I’ll also recommend that time shouldn’t be a barrier, after all Djanjo Unchained was close to 3 hours and people still watched. There were a lot of interesting portions of the book to be executed really.
That’s my two cents. You can check out the Youtube Trailer