Half of a Yellow Sun

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Half of a Yellow Sun

Biyi Bandele (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
London-based writer/director Biyi Bandele unpicks and narrows the focus of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's determinedly non-linear novel in this harrowing yet superficial drama set during a tumultuous decade of Nigerian independence. After being granted independence from Britain in 1960, the Igbo people rise up to establish the Republic of Biafra with British-educated twins Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) fatefully caught in the maelstrom. Olanna leaves Lagos to be with revolutionary academic Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), while Kainene stays to run their father's business and be with an English writer (Joseph Mawle). But, as civil war decimates the nation, Kainene winds up running a refugee camp and Olanna is forced to cope with Odenigbo's infidelity, his disapproving mother (Onyeka Onwenu) and fixation with the houseboy (John Boyega). Too much of the dialogue is expository, the plot is distractingly dense and the tone lurches between highbrow and soap opera. However, the film is elevated by committed performances, and Bandele stages set pieces, like a wedding under shellfire, with cinematic flair.


Premiere. Two sisters return to their home in newly-liberated Nigeria in the 1960s after going to university in England. Their professional and romantic lives drive them in different directions and a betrayal pushes them further apart - but both are soon drawn into the civil war sweeping the country. Drama based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel, starring Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Cast & Crew

Olanna Thandie Newton
Odenigbo Chiwetel Ejiofor
Kainene Anika Noni Rose
Richard Joseph Mawle
Ugwu John Boyega
Miss Adebayo Genevieve Nnaji
Mama Onyeka Onwenu
Director Biyi Bandele
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Soda PicturesGuidance: Violence, swearing, a sex scene.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 11 Apr 2014