Farming review – gritty tale of Nigeria's farmed-out kids

Photo of Farming review – gritty tale of Nigeria's farmed-out kids

Inspired by his own experiences, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s drama about black children adopted by white UK families is gruelling but intensely heartfelt

No punches are pulled in this gruelling film about racism – and incipient fascism – in late-60s Britain, which is also a parable for what people of colour have to do to fit in and get on. It’s an intensely personal, autobiographical work from actor-turned-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, inspired by his own childhood being “farmed”, or adopted, as many children with a Nigerian background were in the 60s and 70s, with white, working-class families in the UK. A little like Shola Amoo’s recent The Last Tree, Farming touches on the alienated experience of fostering and the culture shock of going back to Nigeria.

Damson Idris plays Enitan, who was once a shy, dreamy kid but has grown into an angry teenager, bullied by racist skinheads; his foster mum, Ingrid (Kate Beckinsale) is indifferent. Desperate to find some sense of belonging and family, Enitan finds himself pathetically hero-worshipping the very skinhead thugs who persecute him. They take him on as a pet, and he begins to feel that he is rising through their ranks, although this is an illusion.

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