Netflix bought worldwide rights to the Nollywood movie, LionHeart by the Nollywood star, Genevieve Nnaji, just a day before its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Some people call it a comedy movie, but I doubt that that was the intention. It wasn’t meant to be a comedy, but because of the natural flawlessness of the characters, because of the presence of one of the most comic characters in Nollywood, Nkem Owoh, there came laughter.
I recently saw a Nollywood movie (name withheld) and I thought it was funny, the dry kind of funny. The funny that makes you laugh but doesn’t cross your oesophagus, and makes you feel that your laughter doesn’t belong to you. And the movie leaves you immediately you leave the hall.
But Lionheart felt completely different. The laughter that came out of me was not dry, it flowed freely like the source of it, down to the shoulders, to the heart, and to the unsilent feet, boldly stamping the carpeted floor of the hall.
I was utterly drawn by the lustrous current of the indigenous languages used. The proverbs were everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Onyeka Onwenu is an awesome actor. The way she spoke on a particular scene completely took my breath away. She’d said, ‘you’ve always been able to do whatever you put your mind to’ in such an alluring way to Adaeze (Genevieve).
Lionheart was like watching a real family video with cultural values. And I loved the fact that this family didn’t pressurize the girl into marriage or ignore her because of her gender. I loved that this family took their company and the workers as family, and doing anything that would jeopardize their future was unacceptable.
And I loved the most that while the family sat together for lunch or dinner, that they talked like real family, real Igbo family; that there was this exhibition of fear for a boy who gets into music, that there was the tender admonition and laughter and the love that was so real and true. It equally showed a mother who believed in the dreams of her son, and you have no doubt that mothers are like this.
This movie doesn’t leave you when you leave the hall. It stays with you. It nudges you and tickles when you are walking down the street lighted by the neon lights, when you’re in the car listening to Phyno’s songs. And you’d decide in all of these that you’d see the movie again, and maybe again and again.
This movie has not gotten the hype it deserves.