Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut, Lionheart, is a comedic look at the complexities that come when family and business mix. Working for her father’s transportation company, Adaeze (Nnaji) has proven herself to be more than worthy to be her father’s successor. However, when her father falls ill, it is her uncle Godswill (the hilarious Nkem Owoh) and not Adaeze who is given the throne in his absence.
Unhappy with the situation, things only get worse when she discovers that her father owes the bank a lot of money and they are planning to collect in 30 days. With time running out, and rivals within and outside of the organization scheming to take over the company, Adaeze must learn to work alongside her unconventional uncle if they have any hope of keeping the family business in the family.
Conveying the importance of family values both in one’s personal and professional life, Lionheart is a delight from beginning to end. One of the great things about this film is that it never downplays Adaeze’s achievements or competency. She is portrayed as an intelligent and qualified business woman who has worked hard for everything she has. Though she encounters sexist men, who expect sexual favours for their help, at no point does her family pressure her to find a man and settle down. Adaeza is free to be who she is, and it is a joy to watch.
Amusing and uplifting, without ever being sentimental, Nnaji clearly has a bright future in the director’s chair.
Sunday, October 14, 7:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
This review was originally posted as part of our TIFF 2018 coverage. Lionheart screens as part of the Black Star series this weekend.