|APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (director/writer: Desiree Akhavan; cinematographer: Chris Teague; editor: Sara Shaw; music: Josephine Wiggs; cast: Desiree Akhavan (Shirin), Scott Adsit (Ken), Anh Duong (Nasrin), Halley Feiffer (Crystal), Rebecca Henderson (Maxine), Arian Moayed (Ali); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Cecilia Frugiuele; Gravitas Ventures; 2014)|
|"Ms. Akhavan shows
promise as an assured director, a talented
writer and an interesting actress."
by Dennis Schwartz
The 30-year-old newcomer, the
Iranian-American director Desiree Akhavan,
in her debut feature, also writes and stars in
this indie romantic melodrama. She plays a young
woman, Shirin, on the rebound from a hurtful lesbian
affair and who is now trying to find her identity as a
first see Shirin bolt from the Park Slope apartment in
Brooklyn of her humorless girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca
Henderson). Shirin then, in a scattered way,
fills us in on the details of their romance by hitting
us with a number of vignettes seen through flashbacks
while also telling us what is presently going down.
learn that Shirin teaches at an
after-school program and has failed to tell her
caring traditional Iranian family that she's bisexual.
That she relates best with her animated grungy friend
Crystal (Halley Feiffer), has a bitter
relationship with her square soon-to-be
married brother (Arian Moayed),
and has no idea how to act with her concerned parents.
They dote on her brother and are puzzled by their
daughter's strange behavior.
the break-up, Shirin moves in with strangers,
pretentious artists, into a dumpy Bushwick apartment.
This gives her the opportunity to follow an aimless
hipster path of smoking weed, hanging out with the
untalented folk singers and conceptual artists, and
going on absurd OkCupid dates.
She's trying to pick up the pieces of her life after
moving on from the dull Maxine, someone who we see is
not the right one for her even if she can't see it.
film is comparable to Woody Allen's Annie Hall and Lena
Dunham’s Girls, because of its city setting,
one-liners and the protagonist's difficult search for
making a love connection. Though the pic is as flawed
as its main character, it's still a solid film
offering amusing glimpses on how to approach maturity
in the modern world by a misfit.
Ms. Akhavan shows
promise as an assured director, a talented writer and
an interesting actress. It looks as if she may have
bright future in films.
REVIEWED ON 1/1/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ