The latest film from BAFTA-nominated director Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant), Ali & Ava is a tumultuous, fiercely affecting working-class love story set in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
An exuberant music enthusiast and landlord Ali (Adeel Akhtar, also in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain) is a British Pakistani working-class landlord who forges close bonds with his tenants. Ava (Claire Rushbrook) is an Irish-born teacher and single mother of five, whose latest grandchild has just been born.
When a chance encounter unites them, Ali and Ava begin a tentative friendship formed around their shared love of music. Despite their different backgrounds and stages of life, and regardless of Ali’s failing marriage and Ava’s fraught relationship with her adult and adolescent children, each finds themself irresistibly drawn to the other and their friendship quickly blossoms into an unexpected romance.
Enveloped in music and imbued with humour, Clio Barnard deftly weaves together conventions of social realism and romantic drama to present an intelligent and nuanced depiction of 21st century Britain that feels profoundly rooted in lived experience.