An honest and moving insight into the life of a woman who thought she had everything figured out.
Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) is a bisexual Iranian-American, who’s going through a large-scale break-up with her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson). Starting from scratch and figuring out what to do with her life seems like the only option for her to take, but in order for her to move on, there are other obstacles standing in the way.
Desiree Akhavan makes an exceptional lead, from her wit and humour as dry as a bone, to her honest and heartfelt moments. Unlike the protagonists of several films of this genre in the independent spectrum, Shirin doesn’t think of herself as the central figure around whom the world turns. Suffering through bad one-night stands and an awkward threesome, she searches high and low for the next moment of love. Flashbacks to the relationship she had, play at first, like memories she’s simply thriving for. They’re wonderful, especially the earliest moments, such as when the couple first meet on the steps outside a New Year’s Eve party. Rebecca Henderson also deserves a special mention. The comedy is exceptionally well written and certainly contained a lot of ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments. The jokes, while funny on their own, are cleverly smothered in character detail -you will witness the triggers to the eventual breakup right there and then, as sad as it is. For a film that has a particularly indie delicacy, it works exceedingly well, with the editing style feeling like you’re dipping in and out of her life.
Appropriate Behaviour is an admirable first-time feature film from a director whose name will unquestionably be brought into the spotlight with only a matter of time. A cleverly written independent film, with natural performances and witty dialogue. But if you don’t appreciate a dry sense of humour, this film is not for you.