Ae Fond Kiss (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Ae Fond Kiss is the latest variant on Romeo and Juliet, a cross-cultural romance between a young Pakistani man growing up in Glasgow and a music teacher at a Catholic grammar school. The film is not romantic fluff, but the kind of hard-edged social realism that one would expect from old-time director Ken Loach. Loach is 69 years old now, and virtually unknown in the USA, but his pointed, politicized films have won him just about every award that can be given for "highly competent guys with good intentions and compassion for humanity who make completely non-commercial films." He makes films that bring social conditions to the attention of government ministers and cause laws to be changed. If Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair could come back to life and make films, they would be Ken Loach.

Well, I suppose technically they would be two additional Ken Loaches.

The script traces the path that such a relationship would probably lead, treading along the prejudices of both Catholicism and Islam, and forcing the lovers into squabbles over which of them is enduring more bigotry, and which of them is sacrificing more for the relationship. The film is cast in shades of gray. If it succeeds at all it is by staying true to life, avoiding contrivance and stereotypes, and not providing any pat answers to complicated questions. Unfortunately, the film just seems to meander off into predictably unsatisfying and unresolved territory, just as life so often does, proving once again that realism is overrated as a screen device.

The film is, however, beautifully photographed and reasonably well acted, if that sort of thing sounds like your cup of tea.


In case you were wondering about the title, it is from a Robert Burns poem written in Scottish dialect. (The film takes place in Glasgow.)

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;

Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!


Who shall say that Fortune grieves him

While the star of hope she leaves him?

Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me,

Dark despair around benights me.


I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy;

Naething could resist my Nancy;

But to see her was to love her,

Love but her, and love for ever.


Had we never loved sae kindly,

Had we never loved sae blindly,

Never met—or never parted,

We had ne'er been broken-hearted.


Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!

Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!

Thine be ilka joy and treasure,

Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!


Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!

Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!





  • No features except the original theatrical trailer
  • the transfer is not anamorphically enhanced, and is not especially vivid



Eva Birthistle shows her breasts in a sex scene.

The Critics Vote ...

  • British consensus out of four stars: just less than three     stars. Mail 5/10, Telegraph 6/10, Independent 6/10, Guardian 7/10, Times 8/10, Sun 8/10, Express 8/10, Mirror 6/10, BBC 3/5.

The People Vote ...

  • It received predictable arthouse distribution throughout Western Europe, where Loach's socialist tendencies are greatly admired.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C. Good film, obscure issues, no entertainment value, miniscule audience.

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