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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni 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. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the revolutionary professor Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka. Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    May 13, 2014
    70
    Biyi Bandele's Half of a Yellow Sun strikes an admirable balance between drama and history.
  2. Reviewed by: Clayton Dillard
    May 12, 2014
    63
    It falls into the trappings of middlebrow literary adaptation by finding only sporadic means to convincingly adjudicate the trauma and anguish of its transitory epoch.
  3. 63
    It’s a bit of a muddle and a touch too soap operatic. But Newton, Rose and Ejiofor give their characters and this story just enough pathos to make the history lessons sink in.
  4. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Apr 9, 2014
    60
    Half of a Yellow Sun bravely takes on too broad a canvas with too narrow a budget, but it’s a relevant saga that’s worth telling.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    May 28, 2014
    50
    Biyi Bandele's adaptation of Adichie's novel of loyalty and betrayal set against the turbulence of the 1960s Biafran war, certainly makes for an honorably propulsive wartime soap. It's just not stirring enough as historical drama.
  6. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    May 15, 2014
    50
    Half of a Yellow Sun, adapted from the 2006 novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, emerges on screen as a well-acted, finely wrought epic that nevertheless struggles to balance the requirements of melodrama with its drive to capture a historical moment.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Apr 9, 2014
    40
    Newcomers will be puzzled by the clumsy contextualisation and muddled motivation of characters who, robbed of their inner lives by a clunky script, are left floundering amid the melodrama and speak-the-plot dialogue.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

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