Whether he's dancing on top of a car or madly tapping a coffee spoon, Ali (Adeel Akhtar) has enough nervous energy in him to power all of Bradford. Ava’s (Claire Rushbrook) work as a teacher’s assistant introduces the Irish born immigrant to her Indian counterpart, the landlord of a student who offers shelter from the storm in the form of a lift home. I mention their nationalities only because it becomes a sour subject between Ava and her racist son Callum (Shaun Thomas). Here is a love story about people in transition: Ali doesn't want his family to know that he and his wife are splitting up while Ava, having at last come to terms with the death of her husband, is ready to move forward. In the 60’s, the Brits had a generic classification for pictures such as this they called “kitchen sink” dramas. It was a style defined by its working-class characters and colorless milieu. When Ava feels comfortable enough with Ali to discuss her ex-husband's abusive behavior, director Clio Barnard’s cuts away to a pan across soft focus light dots. Based on her unflinching track record (The Selfish Giant, Dark River) one was surprised by this performance-derailing moment. Thankfully, the glitch was not enough to detract from the film’s powerful love story. (2021) — Scott Marks
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