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ALI & AVA (2021, GBR) – 6.5 / 10


English filmmaker Clio Barnard with this romantic drama seems to have decided to go the way of her older and much more famous compatriot Ken Loach. Almost so, “Ali and Ava” is a typical British modern soc-realistic drama whose plot Barnard set in his home province of the north of England, Yorkshire. Although the first association of the city Bradford in the north of England it is certainly not romance, the paths of two people from the social margins will meet there. Ali (Adeel Akhtar) is a sympathetic Pakistani for years who works as a landlord. His job is to collect rent and maintain those typical low-class English apartments where mostly immigrants live.

He was once a relatively successful DJ, so he once met his wife Runa at a gig in Manchester. But even though Ali is close to 40 years old, he behaves childishly and seems to have lagged behind in some better, younger days, and Runa seems to have outgrown him and left him. However, out of shame, he does not want to admit it to his family and he still lives with the woman who found another. Equally or perhaps more complicated is Avina (Claire Rushbrook) family situation. She is of Irish descent, a widow and mother of four grown children whose late husband was a drunkard and a bully, and this trait of his seems to have passed on to her youngest son, Callum. Ava is a good-natured woman in her late forties who wants to please everyone, is open, also loves music and wants to feel love once again in her life.

Ali and Ava will meet quite by accident. On one occasion, he will drive the daughter of Hungarian Roma living in one of his apartments to school, and Ava is a teaching assistant there. Very soon they will click and connect, start falling in love with each other, but this film was the complete opposite of the usually sweet Hollywood romantic comedies. “Ali and Ava” proved to be a realistic and sober romance about two people already in their serious years who have already lived through a lot and are aware that it will not be so easy. There are racial and even class differences, and both families, especially Callum, will not be overly enthusiastic.

It was “Ali and Ava” an almost typical British more bitter than sweet romantic drama about unhappy but good, honest, optimistic and upright people with open hearts who will have to decide if what they want and feel is more important than what their surroundings want. . “Ali and Ava” also had two nominations for Best British Film of the Year (BAFTA) for Best Picture, while Akhtar was nominated for Best Actor. The film was made with a lot of emotion, tenderness and a lot of style and it is obvious that the screenwriter and director of Ali and Ave created rounded and dear characters that the viewer cares about, and both the main actors are in good shape.