Known for her skill at reframing our views of Britain’s past in films including Belle and A United Kingdom, A Way of Life sees director and writer Amma Asante bring as clear an eye to contemporary Wales. Asante’s debut is an underseen contribution to the lineage of British kitchen sink realism, and stars one of the genre’s finest actors, Brenda Blethyn (Secrets & Lies, Little Voice) as well as a rich cast of newcomers. This story of racism and marginalised lives is ripe for rediscovery in Brexit Britain.
A Way of Life centres on teenage mother Leigh-Anne Williams (Stephanie James); her brother Gavin (Nathan Jones), a seventeen year old desperately chasing love, and her two friends Robbie (Gary Sheppeard), a seventeen year old determined to move beyond his dead-end community and Stephen (Dean Wong), a fifteen year old yearning for a Welsh identity. All of them function along the margins of society… until one day, paranoid, boredom, frustration and anger form a lethal combination. When her baby girl’s future appears threatened, Leigh-Anne’s Turkish Muslim neighbour becomes the target of pent up anger and humiliation.
A Way of Life is a violent yet powerful story of a young mother and her child, of teenage romance and friendship.
“A devastatingly powerful picture… an exceptional debut film.” – The Times
BAFTA Debuts is a special series that celebrates the work of British directors who have won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut and gone on to stellar careers, including Lynne Ramsey, Andrea Arnold and Steve McQueen.
With the support of the BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Independent Cinema Office and Into Film.
- BBFC rating
- Running time
- 91 mins
- Amma Asante
- Stephanie James, Brenda Blethyn, Michael Conway