Appropriate Behaviour, film review: Akhavan uses humour as a shield in lesbian romcom

(15) Desiree Akhavan, 86 mins. Starring: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Scott Adsit

Geoffrey Macnab
Friday 06 March 2015 01:00 GMT
Halley Feiffer and Desiree Akhavan in 'Appropriate Behaviour'
Halley Feiffer and Desiree Akhavan in 'Appropriate Behaviour'

The writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan's lesbian romcom is well observed and often very witty.

Akhavan plays Shirin, a young, Brooklyn-based Iranian-American trying to get over the break-up of her relationship with Maxine (Rebecca Henderson). "Just because your breasts are small, that doesn't mean they're not legitimate," the assistant in the lingerie shop tells her when she goes to replace her underwear (cut up by her jealous ex-girlfriend).

Akhavan picks up on Shirin's multiple anxieties – about her appearance, her sexuality, her career prospects, her fear of her parents' disapproval – without ever allowing the character to lapse too far into self-pity.

Whatever situation she is in, whether walking over hot coals or caught in a threesome with some creepy bohemians, her ironic humour is always her shield.

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