The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Cinema/VOD] - REAL | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Cinema/VOD] - REAL

real review
Two strangers embark on a relationship, having initially lied about their stations in life.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Aki Omoshaybi

Starring: Pippa Bennett-Warner, Aki Omoshaybi, Amy Manson, Karen Bryson, Taye Matthew

real poster

How on earth did people meet potential partners before the digital convenience of Tinder, Grindr, et al? Did we physically approach the objects of our affection? Did we ‘chat’ each other ‘up’?! The awkwardness doesn’t bear thinking about. However, if you are Kyle (Aki Omoshaybi) from British drama Real, you have no such social qualms. Spotting a nice seeming lady (Jamie - Pippa Bennett-Warner) struggling to pay her checkout bill at the local supermarket, your man smoothly sweeps in to pick up the tab. He who dares Rodders, etc. Kyle amiably chats with Jamie as they wander through across the rainy enclaves of London’s Blackfriars area. Kyle is apparently knocking about in the City within his capacity as a lawyer, while Jamie is in finance. She gives him her number.

real review

As a meet cute it's rather lovely. Kyle is charming and likeable rather than brash and weird, while Jamie herself is no pushover. Problem is that the interaction is based on mendacity: Kyle is not a lawyer, and, as we will soon discover, is actually fulfilling community service as a street sweeper. For her part, Jamie doesn’t work in the city either, she was in fact there for a job interview at basic level. Lies fall so easily when you are trying to impress someone, and doubly so when you are ashamed of who you are.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Koko-Di Koko-Da ]

Real suggests that when we seek a partner we are sometimes looking for that magical person who will rescue us from our miserable lot (the reason why so many relationships are doomed: if you’re not satisfied with yourself, how can you be happy with anyone else?!). Written (along with Paulette Mbassa) and directed by Omoshaybi, Real is a quietly emotional, authentic take on a burgeoning relationship; a film that explores the strains of breadline living and weighted social circumstances.

real review

It would be unfair to discuss the finer details of how Kyle and Jamie’s relationship progresses; both have several skeletons in their closet which inconveniently emerge throughout the storyline with the same rude energy as the bodies in the Freelings’ water logged back yard, and shouldn’t be spoiled here.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - The Roads Not Taken ]

A plot driven film, Real works to a tight narrative rhythm. In the first act there are several non-causal sequences which depict the uninviting London borough where our characters live, but Omoshaybi doesn’t over-labour this element of the storyline, and instead saves the film’s energy for simple interactions between the leads which are astoundingly convincing in their awkwardness and essential humanity (at one point, Kyle, treating Jamie to a slap-up meal in a posh restaurant is asked what wine he would like and answers ‘red’. We’ve all been there, son).

real review

Jamie has a little boy (Felix - Taye Matthew, great) who is about the same age Kyle’s brother was when he died in an awful accident, an event which the film suggests is the catalyst to Kyle’s self-loathing. Is Kyle looking for a redemption that Jamie, herself carrying emotional baggage, cannot possibly provide? The only way that this relationship will consistently triumph is if both parties can be honest with themselves and each other; a feat which seems straightforward on paper but, as we all know, in actuality is not as easy to fulfil. Emotive without being hyperbolic, and just the right shade of raw, Omoshaybi’s film is the real deal.

Real is in UK cinemas and on VOD from September 11th.

2020 movie reviews