Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje draws on his own life for this electrifying feature directorial debut, about a London-born Nigerian child voluntarily placed in a white working-class home as part of a 1960s social experiment, stranding him between cultures and sending him through adolescence on a twisting journey from destructive self-loathing to perseverance.
One of the most shocking social experiments in recent UK history involved the farming out of Nigerian children to white families in the 1960s. Drawing on his own life story, actor-turned-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje writes and directs this electrifying film that spans the experience of its protagonist from childhood into adulthood. A coming-of-age film unlike any other, it is a painful but moving look at what this experiment meant to a London-born child whose Yorubá parents voluntarily gave him to a white working-class family, thinking they were giving him the opportunity for a better life.
Enitan's (Damson Idris) upbringing is a rollercoaster ride that ends up out of control. Living with a half-dozen other children in his new foster home, the young boy drifts off into a world of fantasy in an effort to cope but, of course, he is rudely awakened by reality. A brief move back to Nigeria, where he can't speak his parents' native tongue, offers no asylum. Sent back to England, he is desperate to fit in, to meet with society's approval. This takes him on the most mind-bending of trips during which he joins a white, Clockwork Orange–like skinhead gang led by a racist psychopath, and finds himself beating up on his own kind. These moments are the most disturbing and troubling, as this once-sensitive, contemplative adolescent turns into a violent menace.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje withholds nothing as he details Enitan's hurt, his yearning, and his descent into destructive self-loathing. But the story does not end here. Farming leads us on a journey of twists and turns, and of perseverance, that will take Enitan in directions not only unexpected, but seemingly unreachable.