Half of a Yellow Sun

2013

Drama / Romance

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 51% · 53 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 36% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.1/10 10 2153 2.2K

Director

Top cast

Thandie Newton as Olanna
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Odenigbo
Susan Wokoma as Amala
John Boyega as Ugwu
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1023.43 MB
1280*536
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 51 min
Seeds 8
2.05 GB
1920*804
English 5.1
NR
24 fps
1 hr 51 min
Seeds 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by konpamusic 5 / 10

A novelist film

I watched this film at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. It is an Okay film for the first-time director Biyi Bandele - jumping straight to big budget film ($10M). Nevertheless,  it does not deserve the golden award for best feature film. ZIFF is promoting mediocrity. There were other local African films that deserve the award - as 'local' is one of ZIFF main criteria. ZIFF is a not-for- profit organization, and it functions no different than the big-name for-profit festivals. If you don't know what I am talking about - watch the documentary Official Rejection (2009).

Hollywood actors, big-name producers from Constant Gardener, and expensive special effects did not embellish the poor directing skills of Biyi Bandele. 

To be successful in his next film project, I advise Biyi to first divorce himself from his novelist style. 

Just as acting-for-play is different than acting-for-film; the same rule applies to writing a book vs a film script; directing a play vs directing a film.

Biyi does not yet understand the job of a director. There are certainly a LOT of specific directorial responsibilities that he needs to master to become a good director.

Reviewed by oo-onigbanjo 6 / 10

I was not impressed

My 2 cents......... if you want to do a movie about Nigerians, why should you work with a foreign cast? I may be wrong, but i think the director would have done better with an all- Nigerian cast. They would have interpreted their roles better. For Pete's sakes, this is a story about a civil war! I have a major problem with the cast. Thandie Newton was so so not fluid at all; Anika Noni Rose was OK; but the major disappointment I saw in the movie is from Chiwetel Ejiofor of "12 Years a Slave" I believe he did not put in half his best at all. The whole thing boils down to the directing. It lacked depth. But I believe there is still room for change and they can do better than this parody of a best selling book turned movie. And yes! i read the book and I am saying that if you have read the book, watch the movie, only if you can look past the passive acting and bad direction. i give it a 6

Reviewed by azanti0029 5 / 10

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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