This follows that tradition established in Bradford by looking at two communities, individuals and their families. The setup is pretty straightforward with Ali (Adeel Akhtar), a landlord who befriends Ava (Claire Rushbrook), a class assistant after he drives her home during Ali’s run to school. in favor of one of its tenants. He’s that kind of guy.
Gradually a friendship develops which, as it becomes more serious, begins to affect their families who are both borderline dysfunctional. As shown by the reaction of Ava’s son, Callum (Shaun Thomas), to Ali when he finds him in the house. Likewise, Ali’s complicated domestic situation with him living with his estranged wife Runa (Ellora Torchia) and their family.
Both are somehow prisoners of their community and their culture. They rise above that, however. One way is through music. Although they have extremely different tastes, it is actually an attraction for them, curious to know more about each other and to discover something new. From there, they discover that they have more in common than not.
Rushbrook and Akhtar are the pivot of the film and are terrific; with natural performances and nice exchanges, but as it goes on there’s not much of a surprise as to how things develop.
Writer and director Clio Barnard’s greatest insight concerns the effects on those around them, their reactions and, most importantly, why they act the way they do. Some have prejudices or conform to cultures that might be seen as increasingly at odds with those who don’t want to break up but also don’t want to be coerced. Others are bad experiences and traumas that have tainted their view of the world.