Lionheart (2018 film)

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Lionheart (2018 film) poster.jpg
Directed byGenevieve Nnaji
Written by
Genevieve Nnaji
Produced byChinny Onwugbenu
CinematographyYinka Edward
Edited byGeorge Cragg
Music byKulanen Ikyo
The Entertainment Network (T.E.N)
Distributed byNetflix
MPM Premium
Release dates
Running time
95 minutes
Box office₦21.3m[1]

Lionheart is a 2018 Nigerian drama film produced by Chinny Onwugbenu and directed by Genevieve Nnaji. It stars Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, and Nkem Owoh. It was acquired by Netflix on 7 September 2018,[2] making it the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria.[3] Lionheart premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada.[4] The movie was Nnaji's directorial debut[5] as well as Peter Okoye's and Chibuzor Azubuike's (also known as Phyno) acting debut.[6] The film was released worldwide on 4 January 2019 on Netflix.[7]

Lionheart was selected as the Nigerian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.[8] It was the first time that Nigeria had submitted a film to the Oscars.[9] On 4 November 2019, the Academy disqualified the film as the majority of the dialogue is in English[10] and only about ten minutes of the film is in Igbo.[11]


Lionheart tells the story of Adaeze Obiagu (portrayed by Nnaji), who wants to substitute for her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie), when he can no longer run his company due to health issues. Her father, however, asks his brother Godswill (Nkem Owoh) to take his place, and Godswill and Adaeze have to work together to save the company from debt as well as a threatened takeover by businessman Igwe Pascal (Kanayo O. Kanayo).


  • Genevieve Nnaji as Adaeze Obiagu, daughter of Chief Ernest Obiagu; Director of Logistics and Operations at the Lionheart company.
  • Nkem Owoh as Chief Godswill Obiagu, younger brother to Chief Ernest Obiagu; new head of the Lionheart company. He is also the Managing Director of the Owerri headquarters of the company.
  • Pete Edochie as Chief Ernest Obiagu, owner of Lionheart company and father to Adaeze & Obiora; husband to Abigail Obiagu.
  • Onyeka Onwenu as Abigail Obiagu, mother of Adaeze and Obiora, wife of Chief Ernest Obiagu
  • Kanayo O. Kanayo as Igwe Pascal, owner of IG Motors, who wants to buy Lionheart company
  • Kalu Ikeagwu as Samuel Akah, director of Engineering Services at Lionheart company, who connives with Igwe Pascal to take over the company.
  • Jemima Osunde as Onyinye, personal assistant to Adaeze Obiagu
  • Sani Muazu as Alhaji Danladi Maikano
  • Chibuzor Azubuike (also known as Phyno) as Obiora Obiagu, brother to Adaeze Obiagu; up-and-coming musician.
  • Ngozi Ezeonu as Chioma Obiagu, wife of Godswill Obiagu
  • Yakubu Mohammed as Hamza Maikano
  • Peter Okoye as Arinze
  • Chika Okpala as member of the board of directors of Lionheart


The movie was produced by Chinny Onwugbenu for MPM Premium in association with The Entertainment Network. Netflix acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the movie on 7 September 2018, a day before its premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.[12][13][14]


A trailer for the film was released on 24 August 2018.[15] On 4 January 2019, the film was available to stream worldwide on Netflix.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Lionheart has received favorable reviews from various critics. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 6.3/10 based on seven reviews.[16] Nollywood Reinvented mentioned in their review of the film that it "works because it’s heartfelt",[17] and rates the movie at 61%. Womentainment instead focused on the star and director, Genevieve Nnaji, recommending that people watch it "for the fierce woman who stars and directs".[18] Nollywood Post further commends Genevieve Nnaji in its review: "Lionheart was a satisfactory story to tell in favor of feminism without it being overly the subject matter."[19]

Meanwhile, the film also received a few negative reviews due to what some people perceived as its "unrealistic" plotline. A review on Nairametrics noted that the film's writers and producers failed to properly research the workings of the corporate environment prior to making the film. As a result, some minor blunders were made.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lionheart Box Office". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  2. ^ Augoye, Jayne (12 September 2018). "Netflix acquires Genevieve's 'Lion Heart'". Premium Times. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  3. ^ Akinyoade, Akinwale (12 September 2018). "Watch: Genevieve Nnaji Talks About Her New Movie "Lion Heart"". Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  4. ^ "TIFF Calendar".
  5. ^ Bamas, Victoria (23 August 2018). "Genevieve Nnaji's directorial debut "Lion Heart" to premiere in Toronto". Daily Trust. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  6. ^ Reporter (1 September 2018). "Peter Okoye makes acting debut in Lionheart". The Nation. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b Isama, Antoinette (14 December 2018). "Genevieve Nnaji's 'Lionheart' and 'Black Earth Rising' Starring Michaela Coel Will Premiere on Netflix in January 2019". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  8. ^ Agbro, Joe Jr. (2 October 2019). "Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart is Nigeria's submission for the Oscar". The Nation. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart becomes Nigeria's first-ever Oscar entry". The Cable Lifestyle. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Lionheart: Nigeria's Oscar choice disqualified over English dialogue". BBC News. 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  11. ^ Whitten, Sarah (5 November 2019). "Nigeria's 'Lionheart' disqualified for international film Oscar over predominantly English dialogue — but Nigeria's official language is English". CNBC. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  12. ^ Ndeche, Chidirim (9 September 2018). "Netflix Buys Genevieve Nnaji's "Lionheart" Before Premiere". Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  13. ^ Obioha, Vanessa (14 September 2018). "Dissecting Genevieve's Netflix 'Lionheart' Deal". ThisDay. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  14. ^ Ojekunle, Aderemi (10 September 2018). "Genevieve Nnaji's comedy "Lionheart" is Netflix's first original film from Nigeria". Pulse. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  15. ^ Barraclough, Leo (24 August 2018). "First Look at Trailer for Genevieve Nnaji's Toronto Film 'Lionheart'". Variety. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Lionheart". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Lionheart Review". Nollywood Reinvented. January 2019.
  18. ^ Adelgaard, Karina H. (21 January 2019). "Lionheart (2019) – Review | Netflix Movie from Nigeria | Womentainment". Womentainment.
  19. ^ "Lionheart Review". Nollywood Post. 30 June 2020.
  20. ^ "A banker's critique of Genevieve Nnaji's "Lionheart"". Nairametrics. 26 January 2019.

External links[edit]