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Movie Review

Ae Fond Kiss... (18)

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1 of 1 Strong performances
Strong performances

Directed by Ken Loach, starring Atta Yaqub, Eva Birthistle and Ahmad Riaz.

Irishwoman Róisín (Birthistle) is a music teacher at a Glasgow school. Casim (Yaqub) is an aspiring promoter and DJ whose sister is one of Róisín's students. Róisín is recently separated, while he is due to marry a woman from Pakistan he has never met. When the two fall in love, it threatens to tear Casim's family apart and cause problems for her at work. Breaking up seems to be the easiest thing to do, but could they both be brave enough to put their own happiness before others'?

The final film in his so-called 'Glasgow trilogy' ('My Name is Joe' and 'Sweet Sixteen' the others), 'Ae Fond Kiss...' could be described as one of Loach's most mainstream films while still raising many questions about family, race and tradition. Róisín and Casim's relationship begins with a slapstick scene of grand piano moving, but that's the closest their story comes to humour - those imagining a slushier 'East is East' should think again. Instead what you get are two strong leads in Birthistle and newcomer Yaqub, whose time together is so natural that they compensate for the times when scenes seem to repeating what has been said already.

A hallmark of his career, Loach draws powerful performances from untrained actors and here the dynamic of Casim's family deserved greater screen time. Throughout your sympathies swing to and from them, with the idea of there being no loss without a gain and no gain without a loss closing the film in a poignant if rushed manner.

There was more to this story than what made it to the screen, but 'Ae Fond Kiss...' deserves time and thought.

Harry Guerin

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