Director: Desiree Akhavan
Year of Release: 2015
Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
The feature debut from Desiree Akhavan will inevitably be compared to Lena Dunham's groundbreaking HBO series Girls and 2014 Jenny Slate-starring vehicle Obvious Child, but Appropriate Behavior is it's own unique thing; due in large part to Akhavan's distinct point of view. As Shirin, a 20-something bisexual women living in Brooklyn who also happens to come from an Iranian family, Akhavan overcomes the familiarity of her story by presenting us with a perspective so rarely found in films of this type. Though the plot machinations charting Shirin's fallout after a painful breakup are nothing novel, it's the way she reveals the central character's emotional growth; from her deadpan, offbeat line delivery to the way small undercurrents of emotional insecurity simmer beneath her too cool facade, that sets Appropriate Behavior apart from so many of the semi-satirical hipster indies coming out in waves. The old world morality of Shirin's parents are deftly juxtaposed with the 21st-Century liberal grey areas of being young in Brooklyn, and Akhaven has such a uniquely peculiar onscreen presence, that her sexual escapades (which includes men, women, and at one point, a thruway with a latex-wearing heater couple) are never used simply as a comedic punch-line.