Aki Omoshaybi sets his own place at the table in Real, an earnest and frank story of past baggage muddling the prospect of new love. The writer, director, and star, Omoshaybi proves he is a jack of all trades and already ready to embark on a bigger venture.
At its core, Real is a simple story. A man and woman meet by happenstance in Portsmouth. She can’t pay her bill and he, a swanky solicitor, swoops in. But neither is quite who they claim to be. The story is seemingly small, but taps into the universal feeling of who we wish we were versus who we really are. Our past lives will eventually seep into our new relationships.
Omoshaybi takes a fairly naturalistic approach, which marks his affinity for the decidedly human. He evokes an emotional perspective on life and filmmaking. The shaky handheld camerawork sighs a breath of intimacy in his characters’ lives as he homes in on their struggles, which vacillate between money, childcare, and love. The direction is sweet and relatable too, in moments that capture all of our hearts in settings as relatable as awkward, bad-joke filled, first dates.
There are shakier moments in the writing, such as the inclusion of the two protagonists’ past lives, which bang over the audience’s head and take away from the intensity of their present woes. The piling on of drama diminishes the present trials and tribulations. These shakier moments, though, serve as a conduit to accentuate Omoshaybi’s acting prowess.
All in all, Real feels like an industry calling card. Watching it seems like a privileged glimpse into the career of a star to be. There’s no doubt that Omoshaybi will return to our screens with a more pointed and precise work ready to once again move our hearts.
Real is released in select cinemas on 11th September 2020.
Watch the trailer for Real here: