“Aisha” is the latest movie directed and written by Frank Berry and stars Letitia Wright as Aisha Osagie, Josh O’Connor as Connor Healey, Stuart Graham as Francis Manning, and Theresa O’Connor as Deidre O’Dea. The plot follows the story of a 28-year-old Nigerian citizen living in Ireland and her struggles as she navigates her life as an immigrant. Aisha makes friends with Connor, but the friendship is short-lived, as she is ordered to leave the country after her application for asylum is rejected.
‘Aisha’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie?
The movie opens in an immigrant accommodation center where the protagonist, Aisha, along with her friends, is forced to clear the room for a staff meeting. Many reject her, but Aisha convinces them to comply without resistance, showing that she has been facing prejudice for years. Aisha is a young Nigerian woman who has been living in the Ireland Immigration Center for some seven years now and still has to face racial discrimination from the center’s employees, who delay her help, making her sometimes miss her bus to her day job. Aisha works as a hairdresser in a faraway salon to earn some money to make ends meet. We learn that Aisha has been invited for an interview, scheduled to happen in six weeks’ time. Aisha’s mother, whom she communicates with through video call, asks her to convey her story to the world. The movie brilliantly highlights the stress and depression immigrants are forced to confide in to avoid being deported. They’re racially profiled, forced to do a low-wage job, abused, and exploited to the core just because they’re from another nation, and Aisha’s life is no different. She was even denied when she asked to use the microwave to heat up her food.
The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship
Aisha meets Conor Healy, who allows her to use the microwave when no one is around. Conor asks her about her friend who was detained in a UK detention center, but Aisha, saddened by the grief of being separated from her friend, walks out of the room, thanking Conor for his help. Conor is unlike anyone at the immigration center and has a warm attitude toward the immigrants, especially Aisha, but he is forced to do his job. Conor is taking an evening course in information technology and hopes to get into college with his certification. Both Conor and Healy take the same bus into town and slowly develop a beautiful friendship. Immigrants in accommodation centers have a very hard life; though they’re not in chains, they’re, in one way or another, prisoners. They’re not allowed to travel freely, spend the night outside, or own objects like a cooker, fridge, or oven. The immigrants are often the victims of torture and abuse in their own nation and thus are forced to cross borders for safety and protection; on the contrary, they’re traumatized, exploited, and later deported, depriving them of the solace and peace they have always longed for. Even during the screening, the journalist dissects Aisha’s past in grave detail, forcing her to relive those horrific memories again. In reality, Aisha ran away from Nigeria after a group of men barged into her house and murdered her father. Aisha has found a friend in Conor and teaches him to speak with a Nigerian accent; the latter also often disconnects the camera to have dinner with Aisha in the center’s kitchen. Aisha notices a name tattooed on Conor’s arms and questions him about it. Connor reveals that Barry was his pal and loved to play soccer, but he took his own life after he was abused by a man.
The Looming Danger Of Deportation
Aisha is facing the risk of deportation and is getting transferred to Glentill, miles away from her job and lawyer. Aisha’s hands were tied, and she couldn’t even file for an appeal since that would halt all the payments and help she was receiving. Conor’s senior officer, Manning, is racist and hostile, and spiteful toward immigrants. He often creates trouble for Aisha and others, separating them from their friends and families. He had even labeled her as “insubordinate.” Conor offers to join Aisha in Glentill and help her settle, but the latter end the friendship to save herself more pain and anguish. Aisha arrives at Glentill and learns that her work permit is of no use since the center is located in the middle of the countryside. Aisha reaches out to her mother, who offers her to come back to Nigeria and try to look for a job there to sustain herself and her mother. Aisha’s life at Glentill is worse; she has no work, leaving her with no money to send back home, and she’s often teased and tolerates derogatory remarks.
Aisha visits the International Protection Office for her interview and is made aware that the interview itself doesn’t grant her permission to stay in the country but will decide her fate in Ireland. The interviewer questioned Naira about the night of her father’s murder and how she gained entry into Ireland, and the latter answered that she bribed a man for 2 million Naira to obtain passports and other documents. Aisha can’t go back to Nigeria because the people her father owed money to will force her to sell her body on the street to clear the debt. Aisha finds Conor waiting for her outside the immigration office and thanks him for remembering her interview. She reveals to Connor that she was married but ran away after being sexually abused.
Days pass and Aisha receives a letter informing her that her application to stay in Ireland has been denied after the office finds discrepancies in her story. Aisha is heartbroken and reveals to Connor that they’ve no future together and asks him never to meet her again. Connor boards the bus, wishing Aisha well for her future. Back at the center, Aisha receives a call from Dr. Maduka, who informs her that her mother has died of bullet wounds. Aisha breaks down in tears and contacts the International Protection Accommodation Service to seek financial help to travel to Nigeria for her mother’s funeral, but the operator informs her that the “voluntary return” to her home country will withdraw her appeal, and she can’t come back to Ireland. Aisha is alone and helpless and destroys her trailer in anger, but calms down when her roommate comforts her but is kicked out of the center.
‘Aisha’ Ending Explained – Was Aisha Allowed To Live In Ireland?
With no roof over her head, no money, and no food, Aisha seeks sanctuary in the “Welcome Rest Hotel.” Aisha receives a call from Peter, who informs her that her hearing is scheduled for next Thursday. Peter tells Aisha that the office is looking for proof of “well-founded fear,” and she needs to display and demonstrate the danger she’s in if she were to return to Nigeria. He advises her to cite the incident as if it were unfolding in front of her eyes. It’s heartbreaking and saddening to see how Aisha is forced to relive her past over and over again just to seek asylum. Her face is devoid of expression, and Aisha decides to end her suffering and jumps in front of a car but survives. The hospital calls Connor, who accompanies Aisha back to her hotel, but he isn’t allowed to stay with her because of a strict “no visitors policy.” On the day of the hearing, Aisha’s lawyers argued for letting Aisha stay in Ireland on the grounds of her mother’s death, who was shot and killed in Lagos, Aisha continues that her father was unable to pay off the debt he took on for her education and was murdered, and the same men raped her. Furthermore, she argues that she’s not looking for any handout or money; she has just come to Ireland to seek safety and will work tirelessly to repay the favor. Aisha returns to Connor and finally kisses him, suggesting that their friendship will continue to bloom; however, her happiness is short-lived as she receives another post informing her that her application has been rejected and she is to return to Nigeria at the earliest. Her lawyers inform her that she could appeal to the high court, but her chances are slim to none, leaving Aisha no choice but to return to Benin.
Aisha’s story is one of many millions of refugees and immigrants who’ve left their homes individually or with their families to either seek shelter or asylum. The majority of them are racially profiled and are forced to work odd jobs to make ends meet. They’re deprived of services and facilities and have no choice but to suffer abuse and exploitation. They didn’t even have the choice to avail themselves of medical care because they were without insurance and feared that they’d be handed over to the authorities once the institution learned of their immigration status. Aisha was no different, she was a brilliant and hardworking woman, willing to earn her place in the country, but people like Manning often created unnecessary trouble for her just to assert their dominance.
‘Aisha’ is a 2022 drama film directed by Frank Berry.