Aisha starring Letitia Wright is the trauma filled journey of Aisha Osagie, a Nigerian asylum seeker desperate to escape fatal consequences in her home country.
Partially based on the experiences of real people, through stopping short of being a true story, Aisha is a riveting film. Caught in limbo for years in Ireland’s immigration system, Aisha is a young Nigerian woman who develops a friendship with an employee who she meets at one of the accommodation centres.
Worlds away from her character Shuri from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a film which is currently breaking box office records in cinemas, Letitia Wright’s portrayal of Aisha is simple, honest and vulnerable. She has a talent for being able to convey intense grief and pain without a single word spoken.
For Aisha there is no sympathy and safe refuge.
The injustices she faces while seeking solace in a supposedly safer place while fleeing harm is profound. For Aisha there is no sympathy and safe refuge. Your blood will boil at the harsh treatment Aisha and other refugees faced in the Irish refuge centres and camps. This story throws a harsh light on the treatment of the asylum seekers.
Running alongside the pursuit of her attempts to remain in Ireland, and to bring her mother, the only surviving member of her family, who is also in danger back in Nigeria to join her, is the tender story of a budding friendship between Aisha and Connor Healy.
Initially a security guard at the refugee centre where she is remanded, Connor himself is a victim of abuse and the two are inevitably drawn together; two broken people. There is a tacit understanding of each other’s grief and pain. Their blossoming friendship is a welcome respite from the relentless pain, rejection and humiliation faced by Aisha.
Letitia Wright’s portrayal of an asylum seeker is dignified and tenacious.
Letitia Wright’s portrayal of an asylum seeker is dignified and tenacious. Taking on the Nigerian accent and delivering a stunning performance that shows every nuanced pain, suffering and humiliation that her character endures. Through the sparse dialogue, her eyes and sheer acting talent brings viewers along with her through every disappointment.
Conner Healy too, played by Josh O’Connor [last seen as a young Prince Charles, in The Crown] is believable as the rumpled looking young ex-convict trying to find his feet in the world while trying to be there for Aisha.
An absorbing, emotional watch, Aisha, directed by Irish filmmaker Frank Berry, pulls no punches about the indignity suffered by asylum seekers and will make you reflect on the sad reality of people who arrive in countries hoping for respite but who instead endure further trauma and hardship.
Aisha is released on 17 November 2022 in the UK.