ALI & AVA – Movie Review

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Ali & Ava, the latest feature from brilliant British filmmaker Clio Barnard, is set in the ethnically diverse working class neighborhood of Bradford, England, where recently widowed Ava works as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant, beloved by the kids and underappreciated by her grown son whose family she is supporting.

The story kicks off as one suddenly rainy day, Ali, a well-meaning British-Pakistani man who regularly picks up a child from the school where Ava works, offers the teacher a dry ride home. On the way, the two quickly discover their mutual love for music and on that note become fast friends. Over the next weeks and in spite of the strong and threatening objections of Ava’s skinhead son, Ali and Ava become regular companions.

However, their intimate friendship and the joy it brings them are seriously challenged not only by the ethnic prejudices of both of their families, but by the unsettling emotional conflict raised in both of them by the presence of Ali’s estranged wife.

Ali and Ava’s relationship has its moments of high drama but they are played sufficiently low key so that the story never suds up as soap opera. Barnard based the titular characters in her script on people she’d actually met in real life. That undoubtedly gives Ali and Ava their fundamental sensibility and feel of authenticity, which is fully realized in the exquisitely nuanced performances by Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook.

While focusing on the very relatable human needs of Ali and Ava, the ever-masterful Barnard expresses and explores many gripping socially relevant issues, especially those revolving around loneliness and grief, aging and personal transformation, ethnic prejudices, fidelity and the unfulfilled needs of the working class. It all adds up to a thoroughly engaging and rewarding watch.


Title: Ali & Ava

Director: Clio Barnard

Release Date: July 29, 2022

Running Time: 95 minutes

Language: English

Screenwriter: Clio Barnard

Distribution Company: Greenwich Entertainment


0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×
explore: | | | | |