Screening across the UK: This film is also screening at Chapter Cardiff, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre, HOME Manchester, Showroom Cinema Sheffield, Tyneside Cinema Newcastle, Warwick Arts Centre, Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast, Watershed Bristol. Visit our partner venues’ websites to search performances and book tickets.

  • Director

    Clio Barnard

  • Producer

    Tracy O’Riordan

  • With

    Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Ellora Torchia, Shaun Thomas, Natalie Gavin

  • UK 2021. 95min

  • UK Distribution

    Altitude Film Distribution

  • Language

    English

Ali, an exuberant music enthusiast and landlord, is struggling to keep his recent separation from his wife a secret from his family. Ava is a pragmatic middle-aged teaching assistant and matriarch to a large and close-knit family, whose latest grandchild has just been born. When a chance encounter unites them, Ali and Ava begin a tentative friendship formed around their shared love of music that quickly blossoms into an unexpected romance. Deftly weaving together conventions of social realism and romantic drama, Barnard presents an intelligent and nuanced depiction of 21st century Britain that addresses, amongst other issues, neurodiversity, race and class dynamics, and mental health. Bolstered by Claire Rushbrook and Adeel Akhtar’s authentic performances, Ali & Ava is a small miracle. Barnard’s empathetic direction makes these everyday characters – who could be our neighbours or family friends – feel extraordinary.

Grace Barber-Plentie

Tickets from £10 (£5 for 25 & Under) for all Gala and Special Presentation screenings at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

Access information

All screenings will be presented with an audio-description soundtrack for customers who are blind or partially-sighted. Headphones are available on request.

The screening on Thursday 14 October will be presented with closed captions for customers who are D/deaf or hard of hearing.

This film contains flashing images.

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