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Farming (2018)

R | | Drama | 25 October 2019 (USA)
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Based on the writer/director's childhood, FARMING tells story of a young Nigerian boy, 'farmed out' by his parents to a white British family in the hope of a better future. Instead, he becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Ms. Dapo
Kate Beckinsale ... Ingrid Carpenter
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ... Femi
Damson Idris ... Enitan
Jaime Winstone ... Lynn
Genevieve Nnaji ... Tolu
John Dagleish ... Levi
Theo Barklem-Biggs ... Scum
Cosmo Jarvis Cosmo Jarvis ... Jonesy
Lee Ross ... Jack
Paul O'Kelly ... Tilbury Skin
Ann Mitchell ... Hilda
James Eeles ... Fathead
Skye Lourie ... Paula
Tom Canton Tom Canton ... Bomber
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Storyline

Based on the writer/director's childhood, FARMING tells story of a young Nigerian boy, 'farmed out' by his parents to a white British family in the hope of a better future. Instead, he becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

britain | nigeria | fostering | See All (3) »

Taglines:

Between the 1960's and 1980's in the UK, Thousands of Nigerian Children Were Fostered to White Families. This Practice Was Called Farming.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing racial violence and epithets throughout, pervasive language and some crude sexual material | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Farming See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,750
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Ms. Dapo's phone number is eleven digits long and begins with 013. In the 1980s UK phone numbers were ten digits long and the only ones which began with 01 were London's which had the dialing code 010. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Scattershot but still packing some impacts
30 June 2019 | by linkogeckoSee all my reviews

Being the directing and/or screenwriting debut of a well-known actor always loads a movie with a lot of baggage and expectations, for every critical darling like "Good Will Hunting" and "Gone Baby Gone" you get a forgettable "In the Land of Blood and Honey" or "Déficit". The baggage only gets heavier when it also happens to be openly based on the actor's own life story. The last such case of this double-duty debut I can think of lead to the multi-award winning and nominated "Lady Bird" by Greta Gerwig, so... no pressure.

"Farming" is British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's telling of his own life story having been "farmed out" as a baby in the late 1960s to a couple in Tilbury. This was a common practice with African, mostly Nigerian, couples in the UK, where they would hire white, British foster parents to care for their children in the hope that it would lead to better lives for them. Many of these white families were working-class, not indifferent to the pay involved in fostering and unprepared for the unique challenges that the race relations of the practice could lead to. Adewale's film avatar Enitan is also farmed out, taken back for a few years by his biological parents to their native Nigeria, has constant identity crises after his return to England and these result in him joining a white supremacist skinhead gang.

As a testament to its staying cultural impact, Dave Chappelle's "Black Klansman" character is probably the first thing that comes to mind when picturing a black person joining a white supremacist group, but the situation is not even remotely played for laughs here. For the most part, "Farming" is brutal, Enitan's crisis and isolation, strong enough to make him want to join any group that'll take him even if it's just to hate on him, is greatly portrayed in all its troubling phases by Damson Idris (the actor playing him as a child, along with the rest of the child performers are unfortunately a lot less successful). Damson is not alone in carrying the movie, his strongest peer being an electrifying John Dagleish, playing the skinhead gang's leader with such power that one could understand Eni's wish to follow him, even through the obvious hate. Keeping the film from becoming monotonously bleak is an incredibly stylish production design (even if some locations are clearly too modern for their time setting) and the occasional gorgeous, almost classic, grainy stock, high-contrast photography coupled with a great selection of songs related to the Black British experience.

Among the rest of the cast, Kate Beckinsale is to be noted as she's never before been seen playing a character like this toxic-yet-watchable mother, and she does it well, it's just a shame that the character itself is almost a stock one in modern drama thanks to "Tonya", "The Fighter" and the already-mentioned "Lady Bird". AAA playing the avatar of his own father is interesting too, for the role this might have in his own process of dealing with the events depicted.

For all its audiovisual strengths the movie unfortunately falls short on the story department specially near the end. In an attempt to make the previous brutality end in less of a downer note, the final minutes try to wrap everything up a tad too nicely. This along with some unsure pacing decisions denote the nature of this movie as an opera prima, fortunately not to the extent of detracting from the end result though. Finally, considering the U.S.'s role as the leading cultural force in the world, where most of the art related to the race relations of black people originates from, it is refreshing to see a different aspect of these as they happen in other countries, specially when they're told so vividly by creatives who've lived through and been inspired by them.


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