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Warm, funny, and quietly profound, Appropriate Behavior serves as a thoroughly compelling calling card for writer, director, and star Desiree Akhavan.
All Critics (56)
| Top Critics (15)
| Fresh (54)
| Rotten (2)
Appropriate Behaviour has an indulgent, slightly precious autobiographical feel - but it is funny, risky and in exhilaratingly bad taste.
Akhavan's most effective resource as a storyteller is her own face, a sometimes Chaplinesque blend of farce and pathos. She is a big talent to watch.
Akhavan's confidently off-kilter approach to basic human interaction makes for an authentically ironic, adorably wistful, smartly observed ride.
There's a lot to get across here, a lot of information, but the real strength of "Appropriate Behavior" is that you can sense, in every scene, that Akhavan really has something to say.
For all its disorganization and lack of an ending or even a sense of direction, "Appropriate Behavior" is alive.
It seems poised to become a similar cult classic for young urbanites.
A script that is often hilarious-"Don't give me your lesbian orphan propaganda!"- delivered via quick-fire dialogue, boasts an improvised feel, while the edit adeptly weaves together the film's intercut timelines.
Ignorance may be bliss for Shirin since knowledge of what's going on only seems to create more anxiety, yet Akhavan is quite savvy both in playing her and writing her, following certain well-worn story tropes just to upend them.
Desiree Akhavan is a name to remember.
You shouldn't be surprised by how much heartache is present, but [you will] simply because we so rarely receive it in this genre.
... while its themes are important, they've all but fallen to the wayside by the film's third act, which becomes a far too typical hipster comedy (think Frances Ha) with an anticlimactic ending that doesn't bring any closure to Shirin's story.
Approaching contentious topics with clarity and tact and attempting to find the correct balance between irony and outright offence within a comedic context can often be a tricky affair.
As a bisexual I can safely say that there aren't many depictions of us out there, and the ones that do exist aren't anything positive. Director, writer, and star of "Appropriate Behavior," Desiree Akhavan, shows the common intersections between her world and that of her conservative Persian family in this semi-autobiographical indie film.
Read more at http://www.bluefairyblog.com/reviews/2015/5/9/appropriate-behavior
It is well edited and has its moments, both comedic and dramatic, but its mistake(s) is that it isn't as funny or insightful as it thinks it is and relies on a quirky protagonist that most of the times comes off as selfish and terribly unlikable with her narcissistic conflicts.
This is in the same class of film as Jenny Slate's Obvious Child. Both are very funny and deal with relationship woes. Shirin played by writer/director Desiree Akhavan is trying to define her identity. She has spent her life moving further and further away from the expectations of her Persian family. She struggles, but makes the best of a new daycare teaching job, and yet it is not a career that defines her either. She claims to be bi-sexual, but is devastated when she loses a long-term girlfriend. She fumbles trying to get involved in a three-way, which is where the poster image comes from, when she ignores the husband and gives all her attention to the wife. Sadly, it is as if she is claiming the bi-sexual label just to hold on to some remnant of what her family would deem appropriate behavior instead of embracing her true and frightening feelings for her girlfriend Maxine (Henderson). In flashbacks we see their relationship develop, though jealousy and fear of total commitment break them apart. As the plot jumps around in time Shirin must weigh if she should get back together with Maxine or move on with her life whether her family will approve or not.
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