I heard of Lionheart from an article in Bloomberg about Nollywood, which is, it turns out, the second largest film market in the world behind Bollywood. Since Netflix has started distributing Nigerian films, and I have Netflix, I thought I’d check out a Nollywood film.
I settled on Lionheart, about a woman who, along with her uncle, struggles to keep their family’s bus company on its feet as her father heals from a heart attack. Adaeze finds out early on that her father had taken out a ₦950 million loan for a new fleet of buses, banking on a lucrative state contract. Of course, the bank demands payback, the contract falls through, and a rival bus company offers to buy out Lionheart transportation – but Adaeze and her family can’t let any of that happen.
I thought the dialog of Lionheart was well-written, with a virisimilitude that allowed for pauses, diversions, and awkwardness in the characters’ conversations, which is quite realistic. I also liked the film’s central message of family over everything, though I think it belabored the point a little bit. I thought some of the film was a little heavy-handed, and I didn’t “get” much of the humor, though that could be due to the difference in culture.
Overall, I’m glad I watched Lionheart and I’m going to watch out for more films from Genevieve Nnaji in the future. I’m also going to check out more Nigerian film-making!