Ae Fond Kiss (2004)
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Ken Loach, known for his gritty, realistic dramas, delivers his most lighthearted film to date with A FOND KISS. While maintaining Loach's characteristic propensity for addressing important and complex social issues, A FOND KISS also depicts a comfortably middle-class Glasgow populated by characters with hopes, dreams, and vacation time. Casim (Atta Yaqub) is the treasured only son of a first-generation Pakistani family, who is engaged to his cousin, Jasmine; the couple is soon to wed and move into an addition to the family home. Less than enthusiastic, Casim is nonetheless resigned to his fate until he meets Roisin (Eva Birthistle), the music teacher at his younger sister's elementary school. Roisin is beautiful, quirky, white, and Catholic, and Casim initiates a relationship that soon blossoms into an intense affair that revives his spirit. Unfortunately, it also inspires opposition and bigotry from all sides, and the two are forced to navigate a sea of social antagonisms along the way. The actors, all of whom were unknowns at the time of shooting, provide a surprising freshness and believability, avoiding the the pitfalls of predictability that threaten the old story of star-crossed lovers.