Ali and Ava (2022) Full Movie | Watch Online HD

Low-key and lovely if a bit short on dramatic mph, director Clio Barnard’s Ali & Ava is a full movie effectively a straight-up love story streaming free eyeballing bigger themes, perhaps to pad its slender story. Admirable for sure, but the result is a bit like fancy icing on a cupcake: nice, but still a cupcake.

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Ava is a sweet midlife single schoolteacher navigating life after part of her brood has grown and as grandchildren insert themselves into her reality. Ali is a sweet midlife landlord whose marriage is crumbling, which is about the only thing able to dampen his perpetual enthusiasm for life, which frequently manifests in dancing on cars.

Ali & Ava · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards
Both Ali and Ava love music — country for her, electronica for him — though they bond over a Buzzcocks song during a happenstance drive in the rain. Ali and Ava live in the kind of drab, the quintessentially

English town where everything seems perpetually soggy and grey.

Their lives, too, have a blandness that’s almost palpable until they discover a didn’t-see-that-coming spark between themselves. And did we mention that Ava is white and Ali is brown? Yeah, so there’s that.

Of course, love is never easy, especially later in life when there’s baggage and myriad orbiting concerns. Ava’s feckless grown son Callum is a racist

who at one point confronts the couple with a saber, though Callum does this half-heartedly like he does most things save

cradling his infant daughter. Ali, meanwhile, is struggling to determine if his marriage is salvageable. It’s not, a fact made clear by his wife’s open dating of other men, but Ali is not the type to throw in the towel.

At points, it feels as though viewers know where this story is headed long before its principals do even as leads Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook offer

Ali & Ava Full Movie

The film’s takeaway —actually two takeaways: the heart wants what the heart wants and pays attention because love might sucker-punch you when you’re not looking —

is commendable and sweet. And it’s divine seeing people north of 40 represented on screen. But the journey to the finish line is underwhelming.

Starring Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook. Opens on July 29 in

Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, and Sudbury, and on August 12 in Hamilton and Waterloo.

Even before they meet, Ali’s (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava’s (Claire Rushbrook) lives are full of complications. Although Ali separated from his wife (Ellora Torchia) months

earlier, the two of them still live in the same house (“like flatmates”),

while she finishes studying for a degree. They’ve been maintaining their marriage charade in front of his large family. Yes, Ali & Ava is messy and overly stuffed, and not quite as satisfying as it could have been—but if anything, that makes it feel all the more true to life.

Ali & Ava. Directed by Clio Barnard.

As for Ava—a teacher’s aide, mother of four grown children, and grandmother to five— it’s rare she gets a moment to herself. She’s still dealing with the emotional

fallout from her last relationship, with a man who abused her relentlessly. Though he’s dead now, he’s left an

uneasy legacy with their son Callum (Shaun Thomas), who seems to have half Ava’s sweetness, and half his father’s brutality. He’s not pleased about her connecting

with a new man, and not afraid to express that displeasure—at one point, with a sword.

With so much going on for both of them, neither is actively on the lookout for a partner. And yet from the moment they meet—as Ali offers Ava a lift home

from school on a biblically rainy day—there’s an undeniable spark. Ali & Ava follows the pair as they explore whether that spark is strong enough to stand up to the

prevailing winds of the rest of their lives.

Writer/director Clio Barnard’s third feature is packed with weighty material; in addition to the issues already mentioned, racism, mental illness and the

specter of lost dreams all have their parts to play. Unfortunately, the film only runs a whisker over 90 minutes.

Several of the subplots are substantial enough to power a whole narrative, but crammed together, serving as background noise to a love story, few get the

requisite space to breathe. Callum suffers the worst for this—Thomas’ performance hits the perfect midpoint between bruised vulnerability and seething violence, and his

Character raises so many questions around the intergenerational trauma of domestic abuse, learned racism, and toxic masculinity, to have his array of problems “solved” so neatly casts a frustrating pall over an otherwise emotionally honest movie.

Still, there’s something to be said for a film that often functions as a romantic comedy—albeit an unconventional one—taking place in a world that feels so.

Which is far too lean a runtime to support all that Barnard is trying to cover.

Ali and Ava have been busy and fully living their lives, not waiting around for the other to show up and save them from an empty existence. As such, there are no great fireworks when they are together—their days are noisy enough as it is. Instead, there’s a sense of calm.

They could hardly be more different in terms of background or temperament, yet the solace they find in each other’s company is deep and true. They know what it is to be lonely in the midst of a crowd.

Akhtar and Rushbrook have been mainstays of British film and TV for over two decades, offering support across a host of different projects—just this summer, they both appeared (but didn’t share any scenes) in the BBC show Sherwood.

Though they are familiar enough faces, neither actor is known as a romantic lead giving the central relationship an extra level of tenderness and fragility.

Both radiate tremendous warmth. Akhtar plays the more gregarious of the two, bubbling over with enthusiasm in his love for music (the movie boasts a vibrant,

eclectic soundtrack) and for people. A self-confessed “0-70” type, Ali will readily admit that he can be a bit much for some; in a few poignant scenes, we can see the

overbright beam of his affection making the already-uncomfortable situation with his wife even worse.

At the other end of the spectrum, Rushbrook’s reserved Ava needs encouragement to express any of the many things that are on her mind;

encouragement Ali is happy to—clumsily, but earnestly—offer. Akhtar and Rushbrook play the courtship delicately; their

The gentleness of their courtship is a lovely thing to witness, especially against a background of such multifarious chaos.

Ali & Ava is Barnard’s second movie set in Bradford, a northern English city not known as a hotspot for romance (despite being the birthplace of the Brontë sisters!). Nevertheless, she shoots it with a loving gaze, the vertiginous streets providing some surprisingly striking views.

As much as Akhtar and Rushbrook lend this film most of its heart,