Appropriate Behaviour (15) Close-Up Film Review
Dir. Desiree Akhavan, US, 2014, 90 mins
Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer
Shirin (Akhavan) is a bolshy, smart, self-conscious, Persian, bi-sexual New Yorker. Her posh family doesn’t know she has a girlfriend and the girlfriend Maxine (Henderson), can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them.
Shirin is out of a job and soon out of love too. As she looks back over the story of her affair with both Maxine and the big city, she embarks on a series of pansexual escapades which might just give her the perspective she needs to put things right.
This is indie emoting with a big sense of fun: observational, character-based humour and quips – and it’s all really funny: Dunham returning to the Woody Allen mothership with a Middle Eastern émigré slant. Standout sequences include a scene with a lingerie saleswoman, a sexual role play gag about tax auditors and a fart joke featuring six-year-old boys.
Akhavan has said she wanted to explore her own personal dilemma without classic film clichés. As she sums it up, nicely: “I wanted to make a film which happened to be about a gay Iranian, but didn’t feel like taking your medicine.”
I can safely say that I haven‘t giggled so often during a film for ages. And felt sophisticated about getting the ‘young people’s’ jokes too. Without a doubt, Appropriate Behaviour is funnier than Girls. Still, it’s no surprise that Akhavan has ended up in Season Four of Girls. Did I mention Girls yet?
Review by Colin Dibben