Ali & Ava

Ali & Ava, 2021, 2 ¼ stars

Similarities overshadow differences

Exclusive to MeierMovies, March 30, 2022

On the surface, Ali and Ava couldn’t be more different. Hailing from different neighborhoods in Bradford (northern England), different cultures, different professions and different ethnicities – British-Pakistani and British-Irish – the two are unlikely partners. But they are both lonely and struggling to keep their families from falling apart. So when a chance encounter and a shared love of music bring them together, they embrace their similarities.

Sound familiar? It should, as these against-all-odds relationship stories have been around since Romeo and Juliet, in the 1590s. Shakespeare even borrowed his play from The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562), by Arthur Brooke, who borrowed it from 15th-century European folklore. Ali & Ava’s plot is completely different, of course, but its themes are alike – with the addition of race, as is common these days. So while the performances (Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook) are stellar, there’s not quite enough in Clio Barnard’s script and direction to make Ali & Ava unique. And considering the thick Yorkshire dialects and dark cinematography (which looks even darker at Enzian, where dimly lit films sometimes look dimmer), the film can be a tough watch.

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This capsule review is part of my coverage of the 2022 Florida Film Festival. For more information about the event and an index of reviews of other festival films, go here. For more information on this movie, visit IMDB.