In the current climate, people not having jobs or struggling to find one has become more and more common. Real, the directorial debut for Aki Omoshaybi (also the writer, producer and main star of the ), taps heavily into this as this film explores love and class in an honest manner. The film follows Kyle and Jamie, who are both struggling to move on from past hardships they prefer to keep hidden, while also trying hard to make ends meet in a tough working-class environment. As their connection grows and their feelings for one another flourish to the surface, these difficult pasts start to resurface, which threatens their relationship before it even has a chance to begin.

Omoshaybi does a remarkable job at making the film feel authentic in the way it approaches the working-class environment it attempts to portray, as well as making the central romance feel very believable and heartfelt, all at the same time. Just like in real life, this film shows that second chances can be very hard to come by, but it’s hugely life-affirming when they do. By the end, these characters find some solace but the journey getting there is hard and incredibly personal to them, especially when past events come back to haunt them. It all feels raw, honest and believable, so it’s a testament that Omoshaybi pulled it off with this much care and grace.

As well as working behind the camera, Omoshaybi is also given the task of giving his all in front of the camera as well, and he conveys a solid portrayal of a man weighed-down by his past and is desperate to break free and make a good life for himself. But also giving their all is Pippa Bennett-Warner, who further demonstrates how much of a rising talent she is after giving a solid performance in this year’s Gangs of London earlier this year on TV. Bennett-Warner gives a very heartfelt, nuanced performance as a single mother that’s trying to do the best for both her and her son, and she conveys that with so much honesty and believability.

This film was apparently shot in just 12 days with Aki Omoshaybi serving as co-lead actor while also handling writing, directing, producing, casting and location scouting. That is a lot for a first-time director to handle, but somehow Omoshaybi pulled it off, and what we got with Real is an honest depiction of love and class in a modern working environment. If you like supporting film and first-time filmmakers, then this film deserves your attention.

Dir: Aki Omoshaybi

Scr: Aki Omoshaybi, Paulette Mbassa

Cast: Aki Omoshaybi, Pippa Bennet-Warner

Prd: Aki Omoshaybi, Matthew Butler-Hart, Tori Butler-Hart

DOP: Michael Edo Keane

Music: Luis Almau

Country: UK

Year: 2020

Run time: 78 mins

Real is in cinemas September 11th