An epic and striking adaptation of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning novel, the beautifully staged Half Of A Yellow Sun is an often gripping tale that follows two women during the dramas of Nigeria’s independence.

Driven by powerful and moving performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave),Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness) and Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), the film, directed and adapted by Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele, follows sisters Olanna (Newton) and Kainene (Rose), daughters of a well-to-do businessman who follow very different paths. Olanna falls in love with Odenigbo (Ejiofor), a revolutionary, while Kainene enters into a romance with a white British writer (Joseph Mawle). As civil war spreads, the sisters flee to Nigeria’s southeastern region where the short-lived Republic of Biafra is formed.

Thandie Newton has the showier role as the passionate and elegant Olanna, and her vibrancy adds much to the part, while Anika Noni Rose is wonderfully sarcastic and stylish as Kainene, a driven woman who has to deal with her own bout of heartache.

Mark Adams
Screen International

‘Newton [is] at the top of her game’