Half of a Yellow Sun DVD review and giveaway!

Half of a Yellow Sun DVDHalf of a Yellow Sun follows the lives of Nigerian twin sisters from an upper class family who live privileged lives during the Biafran war in the 1960s. After completing their education in England, Olanna (Thandie Newton) falls in love with Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), while her sister Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) enjoys the company of a white British journalist, Richard (Joseph Mawle). Olanna and Odenigbo live comfortably in Nsukka, where Odenigbo has an eager-to-please young houseboy named Ugwu.

However, there are inequalities in Nigeria, with the ruling Igbo class enjoying luxury while the Hausa people live in poverty. This prompts a rebellion and the Hausa militants begin travelling from village to village, killing Igbos. As the violence nears Nsukka, Olanna and Odenigo have to flee. They settle elsewhere but constantly move to escape being killed. On the day of their wedding, bombs land all around them and they barely escape with their lives.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his outstanding performance in 12 Years a Slave, turns in just as fine a performance here. His character goes through a wide array of emotions, as he makes a mistake that almost changes the course of his life and he has to fight to get it back in order. Thandie Newton is likeable as Olanna. It’s easy to feel what she’s going through and to understand the choices she makes. Anika Noni Rose plays Kainene just as she is described in the book of the same name, as a snooty woman who’s usually quite unpleasant. It’s hard to understand how she attracts a nice man like Richard, or even why those around her, including her sister, put up with her sharp tongue.

Ugwu, played by John Boyega, is an endearing young man who displays enormous loyalty towards his master and “madame.” When his master doesn’t want him to cook rice for an important dinner, he’s visibly upset, insisting he can cook it. He makes sure to learn to do everything just as Odenigbo and Olanna want it done. He becomes an important part of the family over time.

Special features on the DVD include a behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with the cast and director. We have five DVD copies of this film to give away – if you’d like to win, please tell us below what is it about the film that appeals most to you?

Winners will be contacted by email on Tuesday, January 27 and will be listed here, as well as in our moviemail weekly newsletter.

Other DVDs releasing this week include: Lucy, The Drop, Annabelle, The Boxtrolls, The Green Prince on DVD, Jessabelle Life’s a Breeze and Wolves. For a full list of new releases, click here. ~Alexandra Heilbron

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Evan • January 20, 2015 @ 1:15 PM

    I would like to win a copy of the movie as the plot sounds very intense, and I’m a fan of the filmographies from Newton, Ejiofor, and Rose over the years. Thank you.

  2. Jason Widgington • January 20, 2015 @ 2:12 PM

    I would like to win a copy of te DVD because I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I also think John Boyega is a very good up-and-coming actor. Thanks!

  3. T. Russell • January 20, 2015 @ 3:58 PM

    Sounds interesting and probably true what is happening or has happened. Changing the names of course.

  4. Nathalie Trudel • January 20, 2015 @ 4:27 PM

    the review is good . Its definitively on my list to see


  5. Sherri Smith • January 20, 2015 @ 5:31 PM

    I would like to win a copy as I am always interested in films that take place in other countries!

  6. diane king • January 20, 2015 @ 5:46 PM

    sounds like a great movie

  7. Delia • January 20, 2015 @ 6:29 PM

    That it is based on a true story.

  8. Shaikh Ibraheem • January 20, 2015 @ 6:42 PM

    I would like a copy of the film for these reasons:
    I come from a tropical country and I simply relish seeing the scenery as well as the flora and fauna, some of which I recognise, and which remind me of the homeland, which I have not visited since the 70s. Beyond that, I enjoy the intertwining drama, in this case, of the romance and intrigue as it unfolds, not only between the four main characters, but also the awful genocide which was concurrent at the time, and how the events affected a nation, and while the UN forces present, stood by and could not intervene. It was t period which highlighted mans’ inhumanity to man. I imagine there will be some historical references dramatised in the film, and I am looking forward to seeing Newton and Ejifor do some superb acting as they have done in the past.

  9. Alison K • January 20, 2015 @ 7:48 PM

    Id like to win because the relationship dynamics appeal the most to me & it was a powerful movie to watch – yup folks, you can get it from your public library if you have a library card 🙂 but to own such a treasure is great as well! Cheers.

  10. Lori P • January 20, 2015 @ 8:56 PM

    I’ve always been impressed by the fine acting and wide range of roles portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor. In addition, this story on the human condition (and inhuman condition) would be well-worth seeing.

  11. nathalie gagnon • January 20, 2015 @ 9:05 PM

    Sounds like a really good movie

  12. Judy Graschuk • January 20, 2015 @ 10:19 PM

    Chiwetel Ejiofor was most impressive in 12 years A Slave so I would love to see him in another movie.

  13. Angela • January 21, 2015 @ 12:52 AM

    Another movie adapted from novel. Love it.

  14. Francis C • January 21, 2015 @ 1:17 AM

    A movie of history and drama. That’s impressive.

  15. Farhana • January 21, 2015 @ 1:32 AM

    What appeals to me most about this movie based on the review is the concept of relationships and how they are tested in various situations throughout the movie.

  16. Lily • January 21, 2015 @ 3:45 AM

    An excellent cast, and a film based on an award winning book of the same name.

  17. Willy • January 21, 2015 @ 3:51 AM

    Explores the effect of the Nigerian civil war on the lives is what really appeal to me.

  18. Lisa Mihalovics • January 21, 2015 @ 8:51 AM

    I found Chiwetel Ejiofor amazing in 12 years a slave. I would like to see him in more projects.

  19. Cat Bretfeld • January 21, 2015 @ 4:32 PM

    I like Thandie Newton and this sounds like a very intense drama based on history.

  20. Karen • January 21, 2015 @ 5:09 PM

    I’d love to win this film — the book was fantastic, and I’m interested to see how it translates to screen.

  21. joanne darrell • January 21, 2015 @ 5:17 PM

    Loyalty is the thing that appeals to me most about this movie.

  22. Linda C • January 22, 2015 @ 8:28 AM

    I like the storyline.

  23. Dru Edmiston • January 22, 2015 @ 3:29 PM

    It is interesting to learn about upper class Nigerian life!

  24. Nyuk • January 23, 2015 @ 7:09 PM

    The Genre of the movie is most appealing to me.

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