Ae Fond Kiss... (2004) Poster

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Accents on Non-Scottish Entertaining!
GeoPierpont3 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
According to the facts presented in this film, I was completely unaware of how many died in the 1947 transition of India and Pakistan. According to the film "Ghandi" it was more rioting vs deaths. I imagine the same issues arose when Israel was formed and Palestinians were forced to migrate. However, I digress. But no, one more mention of a "Harry Potter" sequel and a beautiful Asian student with a Scottish accent. This was my first foray into visual vs audio conflict. The contrast is also illustrated here with a Pakistani Scottish brogue. It prepared me for more significant cultural contrasts in the film.

Roisin is a beautiful, talented, free-spirited vibrant young woman who is attracted to a handsome, kind, sensual Muslim man, already betrothed to another of his culture. I have experienced this type of relationship and to this day hope that the decision to live in the US will loosen the bigotry and scandal associated with such couples. How many children have moved substantial distances over the centuries to harvest new opportunities, happiness, adventure and parents accept this loss, albeit with immense grief. It is called letting go.

I appreciate that preservation of culture, religion and customs are ideal goals, but not to the detriment of cultivating hatred and isolation from all other people. The US may be viewed as a destroyer of these elements, however, the welcoming and warmth to diversity is a true strength of our country. Despite immigration issues that remain unsolved, I am proud of the attempts to assimilate those who desire to relocate here. How would they feel if we were to come to their country??

I was surprised at the resolve of the couple to remain together after the many attempts to demean their relationship and future. I would have given up after the many reminders of family destruction because they can no longer impress their friends. Who needs that shallowness that is integral to old country class infrastructure.

I relished the role of the Catholic priest who chastises Roisin in her personal choices given the current stigma of many priests' choices. I can not wait until women are given equal opportunity to rise up to the challenges within the Church!

I noted at end credits that there was a unit dedicated to Spain but I saw very little of that country and wanted to know where they escaped. I always look for the background shots in countries I have not visited and many times it is the star of the show. However the culture clash was the focus. The portrayal of both sides was heavily biased towards the Muslim culture but this is what I needed more than a review of mine.

High recommend for an attempt to comprehend the sacrifices made to relocate to a new country and the ensuing assimilation by children. The dialogue is hard to comprehend at times, hence suggest the closed caption option.
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.. ever so often just go to it when you want assurity
bjarias29 October 2014
This is just a good movie dealing exceptionally well with several complex issues. The chemistry had to be perfect, and it is. Yaquin and Eva Birthistle.. together they completely make this film work. Their performances are so warm and natural you become totally lost in the story. Lots of films deal with this same subject, but few do it as well. The points get made, but you're not overpowered by them. Good work all round... a very enjoyable little movie. I watch it a couple times now since first viewing, it rewards on a very similar level each time... that's the sign of a well made and acted film. It really is a timeless story, years down the road will play the same.
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A Clash of Cultures.....
Suman Shakya22 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The subject of "Ae Fond Kiss...." is quite similar to "East Is East." Both the films deal with the Pakistani family residing in England and the tension arises between family values when the Asian lad from the family falls for the English girl. If you just compare the movies, "East Is East" stands strong in which the sons rebel against their father; but this aspect doesn't come very strongly in "Ae Fond Kiss." Besides the film also lacks the wit and charm of "East Is East." The biggest flaw of the film is its slow pace. However, the film deserves an attention for its story and performances. Despite the slow pace of the film, the story comes close to life with realistic characters. The cast isn't very known; but still few performances are quite appreciable. I haven't noticed them much in other movies, but the role of the Pakistani father and Roshuil pretty steal the show. Overall, the film doesn't make a very spectacular watch; but it's better than average.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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"Romantic, authentic and sociological drama..."
Sindre Kaspersen26 August 2013
English television and film director Ken Loach's eighteenth feature film which was written by Scottish screenwriter Paul Laverty, premiered In competition at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival in 2004, was shot on location in Glasgow, Scotland and is a UK-Italy-Germany-Spain co-production which was produced by English producer Rebecca O'Brien. It tells the story about a Pakistani Dj and student named Casim Khan who lives in a city in Scotland with his father, mother and two sisters. One day when he is at the Catholic school which his younger sister named Tahara attends, Casim meets a teacher and pianist named Roisin Hanlon whom he immediately takes a liking to. Casim connects with Roisin and all though his parents has decided that he is going to marry his cousin named Jasmine which Roisin is unaware of, he starts a relationship with her which goes from a kiss to something far more serious.

Subtly and finely directed by European filmmaker Ken Loach, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the two main characters viewpoints, draws a gentle and incisive portrayal of an Irish woman who falls in love with a man who is promised away to someone else and a Glasgowian-Pakistani student named Tahara who wants to leave Glasgow to go to a school in the capital city of Scotland where she can become a journalist. While notable for it's naturalistic milieu depictions, fine cinematography by English cinematographer Barry Ackroyd and production design by English production designer Martin Johnson, this character-driven and narrative- driven story about the adversity a man and a woman of different ethnicity are faced with after they find each other, depicts two humane and interrelated studies of character and contains a great score by English composer George Fenton.

This atmospheric, conversational, somewhat historic and at times humorous love-story from the early 2000s which is set in Spain and Scotland in the early 21st century and where a natural romance between two human beings leads a man into a dilemma which entails that he has to go against his family's wishes to be with the woman he loves and a woman into a conflict with the parish priest at her school, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, eloquent and natural intimacy and the involving acting performances by Irish actress Eva Birthisle, Scottish actor Atla Yaqub in his debut feature film role and Scottish actress Shabana Akhtar Bakhsah. A romantic, authentic and sociological drama which gained, among numerous other awards, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 54th Berlin Film Festival in 2004 and which is dedicated to the memory of Martin Johnson.
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Honestly Explores An Interracial And Inter-religious Relationship
Desertman848 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Ae Fond Kiss is one of my favorite English movies.Aside from the alluring presence of the gorgeous and talented Eva Birthistle,it also explores the complexities of interracial and inter-religious relationship with honesty.The story of the movie involves the relationship between Casim Khan and Roisin Hanlon,who are both of different ethnicity and religion.

Casim Khan,played superbly by model Atta Yaqub,is a DJ of Pakistani origin at Glasgow. His devout Muslim parents have arranged for him to marry his first cousin, Jasmine.He is more or less satisfied with the marriage arrangement until he meets and falls in love with Roisin Hanlon,played by Eva Birthistle,an Irish Catholic working as a part-time music teacher at his sister's Catholic school. They go on a short holiday break for them.During on holiday,he tells her about the arranged marriage his family are planning for him. They then have to decide whether their love is strong enough to endure without the support of their respective communities. The relationship has had adverse effects on both of them as Casim's family does not approve of his relationship with her.While Roisin loses her job because the Catholic school she works for does not approve of her relationship with Casim.At the end,both fought for their relationship and accepted the effects it had on them as Roisin is finally moved to a non-denominational school while Casim confronts his family, begging them to respect his choice.

The movie was definitely a great one as it explores how love conquers all in the new and modern world where interracial and inter-religious relationship aren't accepted.Aside from that,the movie never played it safe as it truly explored the emotional and familial difficulties brought about by this kinds of relationship.Also,it was honest in showing how two different people from completely different backgrounds would fall in love with one another.As the saying goes,"Love knows no boundaries".

This film is far from a cheesy romantic drama film as it was real from beginning to end. A 10/10 rating for this great romantic film and highly recommended for people who are looking for themes about modern-day romance.
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My 405th Review: Superb & Sincere Ken Loach - No-one else is even trying this hard anymore
intelearts27 April 2011
How do you make a film like this without it seeming like your climbing on your soap box and preaching to all and sundry? In Ae Fond Kiss Ken Loach does what you wish other film-makers would do, and does so, with a surgeon's skill: it's blunt trauma, but without a blunt instrument: here are real lives, real issues, and yet there is a universal undertone here that rings true.

The tale of how on earth two people from wildly opposing backgrounds might get a chance or not to be with each other is way better than romantic drama - it raises all those questions about family, culture, and identity that have been part of the United Kingdom from the 70s onwards, but never tries to resolve it with platitudes or to simply offer simple solutions.

This is above all, in its own way, a deeply romantic film. More even than race or race relationships, it is a film about love, and how love might be the saving of us all.

It can be very warmly recommended - a fantastic film about honesty, full of laughs, beautifully shot, and scripted, the conversations are engaging and real throughout, and all in all, and most of all - it's a film about the heart.
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Casim "It's easy for you, nothing to loose."
stephanlinsenhoff1 August 2010
Ae Fond Kiss, the third part of Ken Loachs "Glasgow trilogy" (after My Name Is Joe and Sweet Sixteen). Roisin Hanlon, music teacher at a catholic school, Irish, catholic 'divored' gorree in Scottish Glasgow and the Glaswegian Casim Khan, second generation Pakistani immigrant in a Muslim family; Casim Khan, trained as an accountant, but working as a DJ and with plans to have his own disco.This the background for the age-old conflict of star-crossed Romeo and Julia. True, Casim is Romeo but not the 'goree'. She has no family or relatives, left her husband. That Roisin and Casim discover the other, falling in love:, his sister Taharas struggle for respect by her schoolmates is the reason. She claims that she's 'a Glaswegian Pakistani woman teenager, supporting Glasgow Rangers in her Catholic school Holyrood RC secondary. A statement for which she is proud : "I am a thousand mixtures and I am proud of it". But pursued by some kids, seeking refuge in Roisins music room. Casim and Roisin are caught between obligations and love. Roisin loses her job because the Catholic school's direction does not accept her relation with a Muslim man as a married – though separated – woman because it is considered against the Catholic moral. The catholic priest, reading in detail for her the law, and the director of Education practice for the schools headmaster their influence. Roisin can get a permanent post at her school, only if her parish priest will sign a certificate of approval, what the priest refuses, knowing that she lives in sin with a Muslim. While the headmaster tells her the bad news she has a class, we hear as background Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' and accompanied by a montage of slides showing lynchings in the Deep South. Casim the only male in his family, has to marry his first cousin Jasmine. While he rejects finally his older sister Rukhsana accepts the parental arrangement, but loses her fiancé when her brother moves to the 'goree':s apartment, dishonoring his family. His friend lives secretly together with a goree, but for Roisin the lie is not possible, Casim: "It's easy for you, nothing to loose" Difficult questions are around this theme in the environment. This also the source for their questions and conflicts. Twice they separate and twice the second generation Pakistani Muslim has to sacrifice. As he has his family and she not, it is not very easy. It is not easy for her to see his point of view, be beside hom to feel how it is. He tells about his family after the partition of India 1946. Hindi against sikher, Muslims fled to Pakistan., 15 million where on the road. Many lost their lives. His fathers twin brother Casim was taken and never seen again. For Roison it is not any more theory, not a lesson for her class – in which Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' is being accompanied by a montage of slides showing lynchings in the Deep South. Both sides, the Catholic priest, a kind of 'father'-figure for Roisin and the Islamic father hide behind prejudice, are hurt by cultural clashes, widen the gap of social differences, discriminate as good ass they understand themselves, worried. Ae fond kiss is only one of many examples that the frame cracks. While the older daughter of the Khans accepts the old time, is loyal to the parents, her younger sister and brother try to find new ways, do not accept. Casim and his sister take the forbidden step, follow their hearts desire. The hypocrite Casim cancels the marriage and moves first to his friend, then lives with Roisin. His sister applies secretly for a place in Edinburgh, not to be a doctor but a journalist. The life beyond is unknown, without insurance. For Rukhsana is unacceptable when Roisin says: I love your brother. Why can't you accept that?, Rukshsana: For how long? Getting as answer: I don't know. Rukshana: When will you know? When everybody's lives is destroyed? She asks her brothers lover to leave him. Roisin answers "I love him" and does not understand that for Casims older sister love comes, if all goes well, respect and perhaps even love – after the marriage. What Roisin asks Casim for his parents, "Can't they change?, he answers "They are beyond that." The same is for Rukshana: beyond to understand. Why has the immigrants to adjust more to the new environment as those to whom s/he comes. Does Roisins sacrifice and what? The change from a catholic to a protestant school? Will she sense the subtle signals of Casims uneasiness when he discovers the daily discriminating events. Is she then at his side, with him? Can she, is she able? What happens when s/he has a breakdown. The immigrants, the political and those who come by free choice are confronted by phases of depression. Each time with the question: where am I at home, here or there. Each new phase is less hurting and more bearable – until s/he suddenly realizes: no way back. The point of no return. For some it means a mental hospital. A relieve where the staff is payed to listen. But the patient has to pay back. As the victim to be studied by the experts. The movies ending is a family plot by the parents and their daughter Rukhsana in which Casim and Roisin have to act, unknowing, their part. She who doesn't know if she still loves Casim next week and what Carims parents and Rukhsana not accept. But the design is hollow. First Pakistani cousin Jasmin, arrived with her mother from Pakistan, senses the wrongness and brakes away. The final end of the movie is open and the success temporary. More challenges are around the corner.
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Fond enough and effective enough low-key look at struggling characters trying to find a way to connect with one another, amidst hardship and antagonism.
johnnyboyz18 May 2010
When the two leads first meet in Ken Loach's A Fond Kiss, it's out of a negative item in the form of some racial harassment of a young man's younger sister; someone he was picking up from school. After having chased her, who in turn is chasing the bullies back into the school grounds and then through the corridors, he stumbles across a certain young woman who's a teacher there. Tahara (Akhtar Bakhsh) was the younger sister, her angered reaction displaying strong and positive traits for a young girl, anything but the expected passive reaction of a teenage girl living amidst those of a ethnicity different to hers. The rest of the film will dedicate itself to the relationship of this young man and woman, the sequence setting up an overall tone or outlook on events played out within, an observing of a good thing being born out of a terrible thing; a systematic realising of the good and the bad that plagues life, as later on certain events and revelations will arise that'll have the ability to both tear and sway entire families onto plateaus of bad, seemingly without much in the way of a positive outlook.

The leads are British born of Pakistani descent Casim (Yaqub) and Irishwoman Roisin (Birthistle); two people based in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Their coming together is born out of a hate filled and chaotic event, their relationship is built on tranquillity and mutual love but in being together, they'll spawn further events of a chaotic nature. They are two people who connect principally through their fondness for items of a musical nature, Casim being a disc jockey who works through the nights at a local club, selecting tunes and mixing them up to the resounding visual chorus of many-a young dancers, while Roisin is a music teacher at the aforementioned school, spreading teachings and learnings on the subject as her piano playing enforces a physical skill in working within this similar field as Casim. The idea is fairly clearcut, in that tone of skin is irrelevant as is racial background and ethnicity and that if two people can connect with one another, then that is a beautiful thing.

The film is certainly more lower-key Loach than one might expect, A Fond Kiss taking a step forward and mingling with two people of different racial ethnicities as struggles and items that exist to block their fondness for one another arise within the respective camps: an organised marriage Casim wants nothing to do with and issues the Catholic Church has with him in challenging Roisin to break off the affair for the good of her career. In light of recent but consistent, unfortunate arisings to do with the Catholic Church that date back however far, no doubt few will begrudge them the role of the unsympathetic, 'out to destroy' and just down right nasty force they're rendered here. The film is of a relatively routine nature by Locah's standards, running on a Romeo and Juliet infused premise as life in the shoes of each of these respective people whose issues, aspirations and families clash with both a British based culture and and their own. For Roisin, her life and aspirations are threatened by way of issues within the field of her career as Casim's first generation and consequently strictly traditional parents threaten to destroy what Casim wants in terms of a partner.

It'd be fair to say the affair takes its toll on the two, with Casim's business deal that'll enable him to build his own nightclub (one that runs on an expansive sense of equality) and an arranged marriage Roisin will have to learn of sooner of later hovering around above all of this and acting as a consistent off screen threat; their relationship hitting a major buffer the one time they're out of the nation and therefore further away from problems linked to job, family and so forth during a half term holiday in Spain. Spain is a radiant locale Loach uses to push their relationship away from mere flirtations, rides home and the odd drink with each other and into a more passionate and embracing bond as the bodies of these two are exposed more on the warm, welcoming beaches as the systematic feelings they have for one another becoming equally exposed; all the while under glowing cinematography as the location of Spain glistens in an interesting juxtaposition.

The film proves Loach can construct a love story whilst systematically maintain an eye on how the greater items in each of these persons lives can also affect them. 1991's Riff-Raff saw an effective enough love story play out amidst this seemingly neo-realistic aesthetic of men working on a building site as one of the ring leaders of that troupe spoke about Britain's needs as a nation to be reigned in, rebuilt and so fourth as the dialogue and scenes of that nature fittingly unfolded on a site dedicated to construction - it was just more interesting. The film's story here doesn't carry as much dramatic tension nor visceral involvement in each of these people's problematic lives as later-in-the-decade efforts such as 2006's The Wind That Shakes the Barley did nor the shared, tri-directorial piece entitled 'Tickets' that Loach made with two other directors in 2005; his segment revolving around young British individuals struggling in a foreign territory as the timer ticked down and the train neared its destination as the guard loomed about the place. A Fond Kiss is an admirable effort, engaging and interesting in its own right but I found a hollow space where I wanted to feel for these people and their plights with modern society; respective cultural clashes and then later religion. It's an interesting piece and worth seeing but not one I came away from ecstatic about.
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the worst acting ever??
thunderfistrocks9913 June 2009
this film has the worst acting I have ever seen - I mean did they just just pull them in off the street. It was a comedy really due to the laughable acting. The elder sister "Rukhsana" claimed to be an aerobics teacher - as they say in Glasgow - "aye right hen...." - she was a little on the hefty side to be an aerobics teacher and her acting was about the worst in the whole film - just watch the scene in the cafe with Roisin (the female lead). The male lead "Casim" is so wooden and stiff that I was wondering how words were coming out of his mouth without his lips moving and I was just waiting for his gormless expression to change during the course of the movie. The plot was so predictable and clichéd that you didn't really need to watch past the first half hour to know what was going to happen in the whole movie. ae fond fond don't bother
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what a letdown from a good director - a real stinker, this one
Karl Ericsson23 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Even the sun has spots and Ken Loach's spot is a big one, when it comes to human relations. He could have attacked the foreigners for masonry, since every minority, if it sticks together and if, and that's a big IF, it's not attacked by racism or the like, have the very same advantages as any masonry or cartels - yeah, you did not think of that, did you, Ken? That would have been a good attack, leading up to interesting debate and, without a shadow of a doubt, to the realization, that, in a power system with its privileges and advantages for the people in power and its never-ending exploitation of the majority, minorities will always have the upper hand if they are not kept in place some how - most drastically and criminally through racism. Only a powerless society will free us from these vices and that's what we should be fighting for. Instead Loach, with this film, attacks the idea of true love, the love that stays a whole life through and does not give up because of some whim of sudden change in "taste" or whatever. He attacks the love, that is governed by good will, the determination to love goodness and not give up on a person unless that person does evil and only then. It seems to me, that Loach has lived a very sheltered life and been untrue some times when "he had to". I feel bad having to attack this filmmaker, who've done so many good films when others just did crap. The reason why I attack is because in this film there creeps through the stench of "red-wine-lefty", a breed of upper class lefties, who are "left" only as long as they don't have to give up their own privileges and who today have, most of them, become right. Ken Loach did not sell out that obviously but his attacks on market economy seems to get more and more lame and "understanding" and with this film reaches an all-time low.
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Difficult but great
rps-215 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Does multiculturalism really work. How much of an immigrant's original culture must be kept? How high are the barriers between racial groups? How do you impose the old ways on young people in a new country? Here is a Pakistani family living in Glasgow for many years. Even the father speaks with a thick Geordie accent. The family lives in a tidy middle class home like other Scots families. They run a typical neighbourhood shop. Yet even with all this, the old ways die hard. The father's rule is law. Marriages are arranged. Straying from custom brings shame upon the entire family. Think LaTraviata. So when this nice Muslim boy dumps his arranged bride to be and movers in with an Irish Catholic music teacher.... This is a vivid examination of an all too common problem in the UK (and, for that matter, here in Canada.)It's a fine film. However the Scots accents are so thick that I had to turn on the closed captioning to understand the dialogue. The sex scenes are a little too graphic. And >>>>>>>SPOILER HERE<<<<<<<<<< this was the last film I ever expected would have a simplistic "they all lived happily ever after" Hollywood ending. Until that point it had been a thoughtful examination of a complex and near insoluble social problem. I expect better of Europeans.
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Very good movie...couldn't warm to the female lead
iheartsinging11 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Although I thought this movie was very very well done and I did enjoy it, I did find it hard to like Roisin. I didn't find her a totally unsympathetic character, but I did feel that she wasn't worth what he was giving up. Whether that's due to the acting or the writing, I'm not sure. Casim was honest about why his actions were frowned on and understood why his family and religious community were upset with him, whereas Roisin dared to say how dare her priest tell her that she shouldn't be living with a man she's not married to. She's a Catholic. That's the "rules." An honest person, like Casim, would at least acknowledge that of course the priest had the right to say that to her, and even the duty to say it even if she disagrees. I respected Casim but couldn't respect Roisin. Didn't think she was good enough for him.
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In Scotland, a Muslim Romeo meets his blonde, Catholic Juliet, with severe consequences
Amy Adler1 November 2006
Casim is the son of Pakistani immigrants in Glasgow. His life appears to be mapped out, as he is engaged and will marry the woman of his parents' arrangements. That is, until he meets Roisin. She is a gifted music teacher at the Catholic school his younger sister attends. Smitten from the first moments, it is Casim who offers his help in moving a grand piano from the home of her ex and into her new apartment. As he listens down below, she plays the piano beautifully. Whistling, he invites her to look down from her balcony (can we say R & J?) and promptly asks her for a date. It is a short trip into a romance. The two even sneak out on a holiday together in Spain. It is there Roisin learns the truth about Casim's future. She breaks it off. But, can they stay apart from one another? And, what will it mean to Casim and his family if he were to continue the romance? This is a touching story of two star crossed lovers indeed. To be in a romance with a non-Muslim is to be booted out of the family and to bring shame on all of the family members. Catholism, too, frowns on out of wedlock relationships. Yet, Casim and Roisin are drawn to each other. All of the actors are quite adequate and the setting is a glimpse at another world. However, there is a plethora of bad language in the script and the two principals never say the things they need to in order to make this a fairy tale romance. Therefore, all who love romantic dramas, beware. These are real people with plenty of foibles and the film has a gritty edge to it that takes the viewer far away from such films as Just Like Heaven. That said, it is still a lovely story about individuals who risk everything for those they love. There will always be an audience for tales of irresistible and clandestine romance.
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Nicely acted but unsatisfying
simmons-419 August 2006
Have you seen "Bend It Like Beckham"? That and "Monsoon Wedding" explore culturally different approaches to coupling of men and women as does Fond Kiss. Fond Kiss is nicely acted, I felt, yet the movie left me unsatisfied. The tension and conflict were established and reinforced well - almost too well to the point of being nearly oppressive, but then that was a fundamental element of the film. The conclusion, however, was very inadequate. We've all seen movies in which the story line seems to get drawn to a close too quickly or without really resolving the key problem or explaining how the difficulties of the main characters were going to be handled. Some will probably say that the film did indeed take care of this to which I would reply, perhaps, and if that's so, then again, the story was not entertaining. Good film, but not entertaining. Well acted, but not enjoyable. You get the idea.
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Interesting but incomplete
davidburndy3 June 2006
Done with broad-strokes rather than the intimate details of true differences and huge challenges that go along this bridging of cultures. The intention is very well appreciated but the complexity of the Muslim culture seemed simplified. Most of the problems discussed were basic rather than substantial. The characters seemed to go on an auto pilot rather than the clarity that needs to exist for a fuller more in depth experience. Too much indicating and very little dimension. The filming style does not really have any impressive thinking behind it. It seemed as though everything was put together in the last minute. This fascinating subject should be the focus of a much better film that deals with the integrity of the problem honesty rather than trying to please everyone as was the intention of this film
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A Liberal Mish-Mash
abclaret25 May 2006
Ken Loach as been spearheading part of the Documentary Movement for some time now, though he still remains a small figure. His use of low key actors, improvisation, outdoor locations and good camera work allow for an environment which isn't too dissimilar to fragments or at least fringes of the real world. Hollywood probably wouldn't approve of much of his subject matter (which is why hes fiercely independent) poverty, drug/alchol abuse and unemployment are common themes but actually having characters overcome hurdles which are internal (abuse, short sightedness) and externally (state, employer) based develops an empathy which cant be glossed over.

The writing team around Loach tend to be good, for example "My Name Is Joe" and "Sweet Sixteen" but this as to be the worst production I've seen Ken Loach and team get involved with. Its starts out with an heavy unprompted introduction via one of the low-key characters and quickly develops into a serious of skirmishes between the two interested parties with a few cultural issues flavouring the arguments. Very little chemistry, and don't expect to sympathise with either of the pair as their expected communities try and separate them. Its just a poor-mans fable.

Fair game to all involved in the sense that the film looks into deeper cultural background than both "Bend It Like Beckham" and "East is East" did, but the script makes you profoundly dislike all involved. I'm sure there are much better inter-racial love story's out there.
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good social drama - bad love story
kathbloom26 January 2006
I was impressed again by the freshness and ease with which another one of those astute British social dramatists displays the confusion, double standards and selfishness that interracial couples have to face mirrored against the ever outspoken lip service that they do not have to face anything, of course. But the movie fails to bring across credibly what eventually it is all about: a love story. Although, all dialog's and conflicts between the couple seem close to reality and modern, the couple fails to display true passion and that sort of romantic bond that would make the spectator believe they are doomed to go for each other. Roisin's acting is quite strong and subtly displaying all the weaknesses of the figure, but Casim's acting is rather flat and immature so she looks like a bulldozer falling for someone whose acted passion always seems a bit ridiculous. The movie does not manage to settle that imbalance so it really looks like a didactic play between a teacher and a boy.
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Too simple, too facile
dlg3216 December 2005
The complexity of cultural conflict, racial tension, the difficulty of one generation breaking free from the restrictive traditions of the previous generation - all of these are good subjects for film (or stage or literature). Think Romeo and Juliet, for example. The conflicts in "Ae Fond Kiss" (the title comes from a Robert Burns song) - racial, cultural, generational, religious - all demand serious attention and reflection. This film doesn't achieve that attention or reflection. The story of love (or desire) trivializes the broader issues. Photographed effectively, even at times beautifully, especially the cityscape of Glasgow, the film nevertheless is poorly edited (disjointed scenes) and unevenly paced. Eva Birthistle manages to appear both lovely and prickly; Atta Yaqub manages to both attract and repel. The script is too facile. An overall disappointment. And, it can't be said too often, people should keep their clothes on; sexual desire and tension can be presented much more effectively through nuance and gesture. (See Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love.")
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Interesting points but flimsy film
pixel_of_a_pixie1 December 2005
The strength of this movie lies in that it brings up really interesting and worthwhile points about cultural clashes and the tragedy of the kids who no longer really are part of the old culture yet are trapped by the older generations who insist on it and call the shots. The film really explores both aspects of cultural clashes, the minority and the majority and basically comes out with the conclusion that they're both bigoted. The major problem for me was that the main two characters, particularly the Catholic Irish girl, didn't really seem to have that deep of a connection. We see them having a lot of sex and then arguing about culture but that's all they seem to have going for them. For the whole movie to hinge on our belief of their affection for one another seemed ridiculous for me, and ultimately, I don't believe in the choice that they've made. I would give this film a higher rating if the girl was intentionally supposed to be annoyingly uncomprehending of any cultural issues outside of her own selfish will, and if we are purposefully supposed to disagree with them and see their decision as a rash one, but I don't think we are. I think this is supposed to be a story where we really care about them and feel happy about their choice at the end, that love wins out no matter what. Instead, I don't really believe their love is going to last and see the girl as irrationally selfish and the boy as completely whipped and irresponsible. The abstract ideas presented in the story are very strong and I'm absolutely glad someone is asking these questions, but I find the actual premise of the story weak and unbelievable.
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For me, Ken Loach's best film.
comfortablynumb211 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't aware of this movie at all, not knowing anything of the story before I saw it on UK cable pay-per-view. The blurb was enough for me to want to watch it. I can relate to the main male lead as I too am a second generation British Asian of Pakistani parentage. I am not usually a fan of romance movies but it had Ken Loach among its credits so I decided to watch it...and I am so glad that I did. For the first time I saw an accurate portrayal of the duality of cultures and the pressures faced by young asians as their parents try to do what they think is best. I think the new male lead, Atta Yaqub, did a commendable job but for me the female lead and Casim's younger sister Tahara were truly excellent. I watched the movie with some friends from school, all of us British asians, and most of the stuff from the film was spot on. For example, when Casim asks Roisin to duck down as they drive past his cousins takeaway...I've done that too! I did think, though, that the portrayal of the Asian mother was a bit too clichéd and the father never came across too well either but other than that this was a real gem. For an accurate portrayal of what so many British Asian men and women have to contend with watch this film.
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A lovely film
Juliette200510 August 2005
I was taken to this film sort of against my will, I wanted to see something else, and from the first five minutes I knew I was watching something special. Not to give anything away, but this film has a political side that is not often seen in films in the states, but it's not 'heavy handed' about it at all- the political comes out of the family situations. The actors are all wonderful, particularly the woman lead, and I completely believed every situation they were in. The music was unobtrusive and the camera work felt more like a documentary than a film.

But overall I was left with a feeling of joy that there are still films that try to say something, that aren't based on comic books, and that have real concerns that people struggle with. Bravo to Ken Loach and co.
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The highs and lows of inter-racial relationships.
tjkungfu5 August 2005
My wife and I rented this movie because we are so fascinated by films that explore the various issues involved in inter-racial relationships. I am Chinese, and my wife Indian, and it was quite a tumultuous journey from the day we met to the day that we exchanged our wedding vows. Seeing movies like this always brings us a strong feeling of nostalgia.

A Fond Kiss is the love story between Casim, a young Pakistani man, and Roisin, a young Catholic woman, with the backdrop being modern day Scotland. Much of the plot revolve around the Casim's family dynamics, which is a rather modern Muslim household. We are not given much about Roisin's family, but the director gives us a rather bitter depiction of fundamental Catholic dogma. Despite the predictable problems that arise, the story is accompanied by a strong performance from the entire cast, and the use of common Hollywood love-story gimmicks are refreshingly absent from the plot.

I must note that the performance by Casim's father was especially moving for me; you want to judge him quickly for his hypocrisy and bigotry, but soon feel for his predicament. The antagonism he has for "love" marriages arise from his responsibility to love and protect his family, and his tribulations in the past have made him weary of foreigners. I am reminded of the problems I have had with my father-in-law; for the longest time I hated him so much, but only now I see that he's one of the most caring and loving individuals I have ever known, and any problems he gave me was simply his way of testing my devotion to what matters most to him, his daughter and family.

The ending scenes were also beautifully woven together. There are no ridiculous chase scenes or over-exaggerated dialogues. The people who ultimately decide their fates are themselves. It is Casim and Roisin who must determine what their destinies are, and this non-fatalistic scenario is often the case in real life. I know, from my culture as well as my wife's, that in many cases, marriages are arranged, and sometimes forced. Though I try not to make any judgements, I am glad that I live in a society where I still get to choose my partner in life.
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very Loach, very good
Michael27 July 2005
This is very much what you'd expect from Mr. Loach. Very real, very strong characters, very gritty. Well, it's not so gritty but it certainly doesn't flatter any of the characters.

It's a simple story of two people falling in love from different sides of the fence and their families/communities opposing the relationship. But it's not as idealistic and passionate as Romeo & Juliet. It's a film about responsibility.

I thought it dealt with arranged marriage quite stereotypically though. Just like East is East and Bride and Prejudice, it shows arranged marriage in an suppressive, outdated tradition. I was set up by my family and am in a very happy relationship. And I'm a white Englishman! I think Ken could've explored that further and not just dismiss it like he did.

Other than that, it's a very strong and real-to-life film that I highly recommend because the subject matter really deserves more debate.
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beautiful chemistry
movieloverpdx5 June 2005
This story was more than a love story, it really spoke to the difficulties those from different backgrounds can face in a relationship (with family, society, in careers, in living together, measuring their success). I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end and will re-watch it when I get the chance. It had just the right amounts of humor, romance, sensuality, and drama to make it enjoyable for both men and women. The actors had wonderful chemistry, which adds to the believability and likability in a love story. Very well acted, a gem and highly recommended! I hope to see more and more of both main characters.
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Loach Disappoints
Marc25 May 2005
I guess it had to happen, but Ken Loach has disappointed me with this one. I gave it 5 out of 10, due only to the good acting of the majority of it's cast.

It doesn't seem to be able to make up it's mind whether or not it's meant to be funny or serious and it certainly doesn't delve into a major issue with the intense passion that is strikingly apparent in Loach's other films (e.g. Ladybird 10/10) and the conflict created by multi-racial relationships is dealt with far better in "Bend It Like Beckham". The love scene is unnecessary and very unLoach like - in fact, its inclusion plus the cutting away too soon from the conflict between the two lovers gives the film it's superficial feel.

My other favorite directors (Mike Leigh, Polanski, Von Trier) have disappointed me as well so it's proves that even the genius of the world can make errors, so I'm still a major fan of Mr Loach but have to say, looking forward to something much better next time.
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