Appropriate Behaviour
United States of America (US), 2014, 90 minutes, SD
Appropriate Behaviour Synopsis

From writer/director/actress Desiree Akhavan (the unfathomable love-child of Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and Tina Fey) comes an ironic, Iranian, hipster date movie; APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR is an achingly cool, post-feminist comedy about what happens when a girl comes out and discovers that extraordinary is the new ordinary.

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.

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Reviewed by AttilatheHan

Shirin - a twentysomething living in New York experiences a crisis when she breaks up with the love of her life, Maxine.

Between various unfulfilling sexual... more
\r\nShirin - a twentysomething living in New York experiences a crisis when she breaks up with the love of her life, Maxine. \r\n\r\nBetween various unfulfilling sexual encounters and unsuccessful attempts to patch things up with her girlfriend, Shirin feels she is failing to live up to what her traditional Iranian parents and high-flying older brother expect of her. In fact she is still looking for the ‘right time’ to tell them she is bisexual - a source of deep resentment in the openly-gay Maxine and one of the main reasons behind the break up. \r\n\r\nAppropriate Behaviour is genuinely very funny, especially in its gentle mocking of Brooklyn’s hipster subculture and in the entertaining repartee between Shirin and best friend, Crystal - who supports her hopeless friend through her tumultuous love life. \r\n\r\nThe film is also refreshingly honest about sex: one encounter in particular - when Shirin is picked up by a young couple in a bar - feels suitably frank and unvarnished. The husband becomes jealous of the attention Shirin is paying his wife and senses that she’s not as into him. \r\n\r\nAppropriate Behaviour is one of the best comedies I’ve seen in a long time.
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Reviewed by Sasha1988
A bold new voice in US Indie cinema, with a lesbian and Iranian flavour that sets it apart from the rest, this is one of those rare films from a... more
A bold new voice in US Indie cinema, with a lesbian and Iranian flavour that sets it apart from the rest, this is one of those rare films from a female director that makes fun of itself yet gets away with it. Miles better and much more relevant and true than another New York set femme-centred film (Frances Ha), here you genuinely feel a young woman who sets herself up for many a fall, but picks herself up and keeps on going regardless. A nice turn also from Halley Feiffer from The Squid And The Whale, who really should be in more films, perhaps even with Desiree. More of these women, please!
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Reviewed by Samueldtodd
Accepting our identity can be difficult, for Shirin, a twenty-something, Iranian bisexual living in Brooklyn, it’s harder still; add in traditional Persian parents and a girlfriend who wants nothing to... more
Accepting our identity can be difficult, for Shirin, a twenty-something, Iranian bisexual living in Brooklyn, it’s harder still; add in traditional Persian parents and a girlfriend who wants nothing to do with you, it becomes nigh on impossible. Still reeling from her breakup, Appropriate Behaviour follows Shirin as she attempts to reconcile her various identities whilst remaining a (at least partially) functioning member of society.\r\n\r\nHysterical at times, heart breaking at others, Appropriate Behaviour assuredly strikes the rarely attainted parity of comedy and drama; a difficult task no doubt, but in her debut feature, writer/director/star Desiree Akhaven, makes it look easy. Telling both the story of her doomed relationship and its aftermath, Appropriate Behaviour is engaging, honest and poignant, even for those such as myself who can’t relate directly to Shirin’s struggle.\r\n\r\nIt demonstrates that the line between laughter and tears can be a faint one indeed. The opening scene sees Shirin discovering her relationship is over, a sorrowful moment in which she must not only come to terms with losing her partner, but also the dilemma of what one does when they gain full custody of the strap-on dildo.\r\n\r\nAppropriate Behaviour might not be overly original, fans of Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture or Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha will be familiar with the drifting twenty-something trying to take charge of their life narrative. But that’s not to say this has nothing to offer, quite the contrary. Akhaven’s allows Shirin to be a real woman; she can be optimistic, reasonable and logical in one scene, then downbeat, unaccommodating and irrational in the next. There’s an authenticity, a believability to her character that demands Appropriate Behaviour and Desiree Akhaven are taken notice of. An absorbing character piece that I'd urge anyone to try.
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