Appropriate Behaviour is not a comedy, even though the film is super funny, witty and will make you laugh out loud.
Desiree Akhavan’s debut feature, which is hitting cinemas in the UK today and was part of the strand PIONEER at the Glasgow Film Festival, is a break up film dressed up as comedy, probably because using a comedy tone as a shield make it easier to digest most of the serious themes the film addresses.
Ever so often film reviews are a pre made formula, which consists of using comparisons, with other titles, directors or main actors, in an attempt to instigate and inform the reader of what to expect when choosing a film to watch.
Most of the articles written about Appropriate Behaviour widely appropriate, no pun intended, other films, directors and cast to describe and compare this gem of a film.
In this review, however, there will be no comparisons. There will be no mentioning of other film titles, other directors or actors.
That’s because Appropriate Behaviour is so good that it’s in a league of its own. It needs no comparison.
The film’s narrative focus on Shirin’s recent break up to girlfriend Maxine, her consequently heartbreak phase and the difficulty of coming out as bisexual to her Iranian family.
On Shirin’s attempt to mend her broken Brooklyn-hipster-heart, the audience embark on a journey where we all laugh, cringe and cry with her adventures and hiccups.
There is the rebound sex with an Internet hook up; a hilarious best friend, Crystal, who understands her like no one in the world (“I think we were an ‘it’ couple” she explain early in the film), and a very awkward and unsuccessful attempt to have a threesome. And Brooklyn never looked so hip and cool serving as the perfect background to the story.
There is also a great moment when she is given self-esteem coaching by the assistant in a lingerie store (watch below).
The film travels between past and present on flashbacks that explains how Shirin and Maxine’s relationship developed from the first kiss on New Year’s Eve to the saturation and decline of their love, intertwined with Shirin’s relationship with her traditional family and her recent job teaching filmmaking to kindergarteners.
Appropriate Behaviour is clever, emotional and amusing. Go see it.