Review: Appropriate Behaviour (2014)

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Desiree Akhavan has delivered a candid and sharply funny indie drama in her feature debut Appropriate Behaviour, which she writes, directs and stars in. Shirin (Akhavan), an Iranian-American hipster who also happens to be bisexual, suffers an identity crisis after a break-up. The film, which is tremendously observed, casually flits between the past and present, observing both the optimistic start and subsequent fall-out of Shirin’s relationship with Maxine (Rebecca Henderson). It’s perhaps in the observations of the latter that the film works best, underlining the real difficulties in finding one’s self at a tumultuous age and time through awkward situations – a clumsy threesome, in particular – and moments of quiet heartbreak. There’s a self aware authenticity to the narrative that excuses many of the clichés and allows Akhavan’s performance to feel as natural as they come. Shirin is a character as unsure of themselves as most of the target audience are. Appropriate Behaviour is not only an excellent film in itself, full of the highs and lows of everyday life, but it also announces the arrival of a brave and intriguing new talent.

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