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Aisha

Cast: Josh O'Connor, Letitia Wright, Ruth McCabe
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Frank Berry
Director: Frank Berry
Running Time: 94mins
Country: Ire
Year: 2022

LondonNet Film Review

Aisha (12A) Film Review from LondonNet

Nigerian asylum seeker Aisha Osagie (Letitia Wright) has been in Ireland for just over a year. She is currently housed in a centre managed by Francis Manning (Stuart Graham) and has been granted permission to work in a local hairdressing salon under the Direct Provision system as she waits for her application to stay to be considered. Aisha’s solicitor Peter Flood (Lorcan Cranitch) urges her to prepare thoroughly for the interview that will decide if she can remain in Ireland and reunite with her mother (Rosemary Aimyekagbon), who is hiding from debtors in Lagos. When ex-con and recovering drug addict Conor Healy (Josh O’Connor) starts work as night-shift security at the centre and shows her kindness, Aisha lowers her emotional defences but their burgeoning friendship is threatened by the possibility of a move at short notice to a different facility…

Inspired by real-life experiences of asylum seekers, Aisha is a moving portrait of traumatised lives in flux, which seethes with quiet indignation at the treatment of displaced people in present-day Ireland. Wright delivers a restrained yet deeply affecting performance as a survivor of sexual assault, who is reluctant to let anyone get close to her because she has no control over her fate (“I’m not sure I even have a future!”) On-screen chemistry with O’Connor simmers convincingly to a boil as Irish writer-director Frank Berry coolly surveys a bureaucratic system that treats Aisha simply as a case number. His richly textured character study humanises that desperate plight and serves up plentiful food for thought.

– Sarah Lee


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