Ali & Ava ⭐⭐⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali
Ali & Ava, both lonely for different reasons, meet and sparks fly. Over a lunar month a deep connection begins to grow, despite the legacy of Ava’s past relationship, and Ali’s emotional turmoil at the breakdown of his marriage.
This little romantic kitchen-sink-like British romance set in Bradford may talk about people trying to rebuild their lives after a difficult past, but it treats it all with a lightness of touch, humour and such tenderness that it feels comforting and uplifting rather than grungy and depressing.
Framed by the beautifully filmed Yorkshire landscape this is sweet love story, seemingly ordinary were it not for the fact that it’s centred around people who are rarely depicted on screen.
This is possibly director Clio Barnard’s most accessible (and heart-warming) film, after her previous Bradford-based films like The Arbor and The Selfish Giant.
Both Ali and Ava are instantly likeable and their passion for music, which brings them together, feels fresh and unusual. Kudos to the two beautifully rendered and realistic performances by Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook.
I must say that coming from a massive 94% score on rotten Tomatoes, I was expecting this to sweep me off my feet, and while I definitely thought it was overall cute and sweet, I also found it a bit slight and veering a bit too much towards contrivances and clichés especially in the second half and it its depiction of themes like domestic abuse and loneliness.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
Ali & Ava is out in cinemas this week.
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See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
See also: Theatre review – Running with Lions at the Lyric, Hammersmith
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