By Ify, Qwenu Media
LionHeart Nollywood Movie Review: A Must Watch For Igbo Culture Lovers
Lionheart highlights the challenges faced by a young Nigerian woman (played by Genevieve Nnaji) who takes the pseudo-helm of a company at a challenging time following the sudden illness of her father. While she navigates the complex terrain of being a businesswoman and a leader, she fends off unwanted efforts from competitors to usurp her father’s company.
The movie was appropriately subtitled when Igbo was being spoken, which was quite a bit. The major flaw to me was the lack of originality in the plot which is compensated by the excellent acting in the entire movie. Genevieve in particular, was captivating, owning almost every scene she was in, except for the few instances when Nkem Owoh made you burst out laughing.
Her relationship with her CEO father (Pete Edochie) was admirable in most parts of the movie especially as he made it clear that he had so much trust and faith in her early in the movie. However, the plot brilliantly highlights the reality that Nigerian women face when despite his confidence, he still needed to appoint someone else (his brother) when he was too ill to be in charge.
In the movie, Mr Ernest Obiagu (played by Pete Edochie, who I describe as Nigeria’s James Earl Jones) appears to have what might be a heart attack. Following this, his competitor (Igwe Paschal) played by Kanayo O. Kanyo (who stood out in his role as a traditional Ibo man, not only in his mannerisms and his accent but the tone and cadence of his voice) tries to take advantage of the situation.
The script subtly highlights the situation of a paucity of women in the modern day Nigerian boardroom but at the same time exaggerates some scenes in the movie such as some the Lionheart office, wherein one situation, phones are ringing off the hook as if it were a call centre.
The context of the movie emphasizes the reality that many Nigerian women face when even though they are deemed capable for a job position, rarely become the faces of companies in Africa. It reflects how the society occasionally views women when it comes to leadership as even her mother (Onyeka Onwenu) who you would think would push for her daughter to be given the leadership position, instead defers to her husband’s wishes for someone else to lead. I must add that Onyeka Onwenu stole the show for me delivering a first-class performance in every scene she was in.
The production was excellent, the cast well chosen, though Genevieve’s repetitive jogging in the early hours of the morning seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Another unrealistic scene was one where company staff led by Nkem Owoh started the day with everyone praying loudly. While this scene was unrealistic, it certainly got me laughing on the floor.
The humour delivered by Nkem Owoh was indeed refreshing, appropriately balancing out the repetitive bad luck that befell the Lionheart company in the entire movie.
The transitioning from English to Igbo, and Igbo back to English was seamless to me. However, I must admit that I may be biased being an Ibo woman and that this might have been challenging for a non-native Igbo speaker to follow.
There were a few assumptions and redundancies in the movie – for instance, I struggled to appreciate how the Lionheart company which at the start of the movie was portrayed to be a top company all of the sudden became in near financial ruin. In addition, the scene where Nkem Owoh punched someone who was making advances to his niece which landed both of them in jail felt unnecessary and really didn’t add much to improve the quality of the movie.
Also, the movie played out as if Mr Obiagwu (played by Pete Edochie) was in a vegetative state or dead when the company was in turmoil. If things were so dire, why couldn’t he be called and his opinion sought? This was complicated by the fact that at least to my knowledge, his exact illness was not disclosed in the movie.
To conclude, Lionheart is a well-directed and very entertaining Nollywood movie with a good balance of the realities faced by Nigerian businesswomen in the male-dominated corporate world, and humour, the latter mostly delivered by Nkem Owoh.
While the plot might not win the award for the best original screenplay, the balance of humour and the underscoring of some contemporary issues faced by Nigerian women make this Nigerian movie a must watch for Nollywood fans. For the non-Nigerian, you also get a tiny glimpse of the beautiful Igbo culture.
If you have watched the movie, leave your comments below and rate it below.
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