Shirin is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual and hip young Brooklynite but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold onto can be a lonely experience.
For Shirin, being part of a perfect Persian family isn't easy. Acceptance eludes her from all sides: her family doesn't know she's bisexual, and her ex-girlfriend, Maxine, can't understand why she doesn't tell them. Even the six-year-old boys in her moviemaking class are too ADD to focus on her for more than a second. Following a family announcement of her brother's betrothal to a parentally approved Iranian prize catch, Shirin embarks on a private rebellion involving a series of pansexual escapades, while trying to decipher what went wrong with Maxine.Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Desiree Akhavan's directorial film debut. See more »
Can't hold my thoughts still long enough to think them, I have to chase them.
I know what you mean. The other day, I had a really good idea for a children's book while I was smoking weed and now I have no idea what it was.
Keep smoking. You'll get it back.
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Written and performed by Josephine Wiggs & Jon Mattock
Published by Naked Mole Rat Music/BMI See more »
More fun than I expected - an impressive first film
I make an effort not to know too much about a film before I see it. That helps me have an experience less tainted by expectations, but it can also lead me to silly snap judgments that are dead wrong.
After a few minutes I'd decided that Desiree Akhavan's Appropriate Behavior was just another in a long string of low budget 20- something self-involved dramedies I've seen in the last couple of years. But by the end I realized that Akhavan had taken that trope, and run her own unique and very funny spin on it. And the humor was a big part of what made it special. This movie was flat out funny. It wasn't afraid of being absurd or larger than life, or actively witty. It was intensely human and touching at times, but it also had great comic timing. In that respect Ahkavan's cinematic view of life and relationships in New York has more in common with Woody Allen circa Annie Hall and Manhattan than most mumblecore we've grown used to. She also created a unusually lovable (if self-sabotaging) main character for herself in Shirin; a bi-sexual young Iranian woman still in the closet to her parents, and attempting to recover from a painful breakup.
Shirin doesn't really fit in anywhere. Because she's bi, lesbians (including the woman who broke her heart) view her with suspicion, assuming she's 'just visiting' relationships with women. Her parents keep waiting for her to meet a nice boy. She feels estranged from the Iranian-American culture she grew up with, but she's not as self-consciously hip and cool as the hipster poseurs she's surrounded by. And she has a knack for making some comic but awful life decisions, from a painfully failed threesome, to a gig teaching film-making to disinterested 5 year olds.
This is a rueful and smart film about how screwed up and alone we all are and yet how sweet life is in it's sad and silly way. It's an impressive calling card for Akhavan, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next.
Follow up -- I saw this again, sharing it with some friends, and found it only grew on me. I was even more touched by the sweet heart at the middle of the comedy.
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