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Aisha

By Alexandra Conwell | May 31, 2024

Writer-director Frank Berry’s Aisha demands not only attention but patience. The drama was not created to instruct the masses on the global humanitarian crisis or to reproduce the struggle of the marginalized for catharsis. It will not satisfy the expectation that such stories will be raw, unambiguous, and wrap up cleanly by the one-hour 40 mark. What makes the film interesting is the balance struck between these elements, how that affords dignity to its characters, and how that dignity is, by extension, afforded to the lived experience such characters embody.

“…require Aisha to return to Nigeria voluntarily, and that would mean the withdrawal of her appeal for asylum in Ireland.”

Aisha (Letitia Wright) is a young woman who stutters but is deliberately composed otherwise. “My name is Aisha Osagie,” she says into the phone. “I have to go home for an emergency funeral. I… I need help with that.” The voice on the other end is pleasantly neutral. “Okay. Could I get your registration number, please?”

Moraya was alive days ago, terrified and in hiding but full of faith. Aisha is about to hear what she already knows. Attending her mother’s funeral would require Aisha to return to Nigeria voluntarily, and that would mean the withdrawal of her appeal for asylum in Ireland. Her steady downward gaze – her control – begins to fracture. But at the first accommodation center, Aisha meets a young security guard named Conor (Josh O’Connor), and a relationship develops in stolen glances and nights in the kitchen until Aisha is forcibly relocated. Thrown into another survival situation, Aisha wants control. She wants to reveal herself to Conor, though warning him off is also in the cards.

Aisha (2024)

Directed and Written: Frank Berry

Starring: Letitia Wright, Josh O'Connor, Denis Conway, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Aisha Image

"…invited to see all immigrants in a new light."

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