Aisha – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Frank Berry
Starring: Letitia Wright, Josh O’Connor
In cinemas November 17th
Shot in Ireland during the lockdown, this drama from Michael Inside writer and director, Frank Berry, doesn’t lack in star power featuring both Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and the Crown star Josh O’Connor.
Wright plays the titular character who has been in limbo for years in Ireland’s immigration system. Having fled her native Nigeria in fear for her life she is desperate to get the security of residency but instead finds herself caught in a quagmire of bureaucracy with her fate in the hands of others. As she tries to navigate the complex system and move forward with her life she meets Conor, a security guard at one of the accommodation centres. The pair develop a relationship but the uncertainty of Aisha’s situation is always hanging over it.
You’ve probably guessed that this is very dark. There is nothing bright or cheery about the immigration system and many people will probably be shocked by the starkness of it. A prevailing sense of hopelessness hangs over this and there is no catharsis at the end – rather the audience is left in limbo, much like Aisha herself.
Both Wright and O’Connor are excellent (kudos to O’Connor for nailing the Irish accent where so many others have failed) but some of the supporting actors dial it in. However, Aisha and Conor’s relationship is at the heart of this film and O’Connor and Wright have excellent chemistry and keep the story moving along.
This is incredibly bleak and almost Kafka-esque. At times it feels like the story goes in circles – much like the immigration process. It won’t leave you with a smile on your face and, unfortunately, is unlikely to open debate on the direct provision system although it will surely at least open more people’s eyes to the reality of it.