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🎞🎥: Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart- A review.

N. F. Kenure


Like many Nigerians, I saw Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart over the weekend. I'm pretty sure that we all watched it  thinking ‘please let it be good, let it be good.’

Was it good?


It wasn't bad.

But it wasn't great. It wasn't the new benchmark, the messiah we’d been promised.

What lionheart was; was sane.

All the things it did right:

Lionheart is the story of a woman Adaeze, played by Genevieve, proving herself to her dad as he reaches the ‘twilight’ of his career in a motor transport business. Simple. The curveball for us- (Nollywood audience) is that the uncle is not the big bad wolf and that an Igbo dad is invested in his girl child. As uncomplicated as this is, it's quite jarring for us Africans; there are no 'village people out to get you'. Personally, this is the main triumph of the film. That family can actually just be family, your ‘tribe’, loving and working together for everyone's progress. And that a woman is whole. No one is telling her to forget work and find a man.


It was absolutely well shot; angles, framing, lighting, no shadows. So aesthetically, it was pleasing, and Enugu as a backdrop was refreshing.The dialogue was good, nothing too cringy excluding Nkem Owoh’s first jab about teeth whitening.

Casting- Genevieve obviously wanted the parents to represent royalty, to project strength, and Onyeka Onwenu as Abigail Obiagu is the queen of regal. Pete Edochie, Obiagu himself steps into the role he’s played a million times and so is perfect for it.  I wasn't ecstatic about seeing Nkem Owoh in this because I did not expect him to deliver outside his own niche(comedy), but I think he did quite well outside one or two lapses. He is Uncle Godswill, an actual loving, supportive uncle.


Peter Okoye’s scene as an ex called Arinze was thankfully brief, and yet, Genevieve insisted on reminding us about her terrible attempt at a career in music. How could no one ask for that ‘harmonising’ to be reshot?


Another triumph was the portrayal of two tribes- Igbo and Hausa- with a long history of conflict (and a war basically). The Northerners were not just gatemen or ‘mallams’ and Nkem Owoh’s admonishment to his fellow Igbo men was novel.

I enjoyed the melting away of defences between the old men, and the prospect of a loving relationship between their offsprings.

The use of Language in Lionheart was  elegant. It was my favorite thing in Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys with Yoruba, and as an Igbo gal, it was nice to get it in Lionheart.



What was wrong with Lionheart? The story.

While it was a good story, it wasn't well fleshed out. A business consultant was sorely needed. Business meetings and deals done without numbers, the most basic animated ‘presentation’ for a multi million Naira bid was lauded as impressive (or was that an indictment of the Nigerian business scene?) It was light on the technicalities of business.


While I am glad that women like Kemi and Genevieve are trying to present us with different stories told beautifully, I think they need to get someone that they respect to say- take this out, or you need to redo that, someone who’s not afraid to call them out because they want the output to be the absolute best version that it could be.


The breakout star in Lionheart, was Adaeze’s hair. Every shot, every coil, every style was perfection. It told a story on its own. It said, ‘I am African. I am wild, I am free, and I am old and new. And I am very proud.’

Lionheart is streaming on Netflix now.


Jan 7, 2019