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"Appropriate Behavior": Relationships End, But Cultures, Not So Much 

Wednesday, Jan 14 2015
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Unless you're a complete and utter sociopath, when you break up with someone it's impossible to not sift randomly through the memories of your time together, trying to figure out what went wrong even as you're simultaneously trying to find a way forward. Annie Hall may still be the gold standard of such nonlinear breakup films set in New York, but writer and director Desiree Akhavan's very funny Appropriate Behavior is probably the first such movie from the perspective of a Persian bisexual in Brooklyn, and it sets a high bar. Persian bisexual in question Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) and her Caucasian girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) have broken up, and Shirin is moving out, but they find it difficult to not keep running into each other in their tiny mutual world of Park Slope. Meanwhile, Shirin flashes back to key moments in their relationship, especially regarding Maxine's discomfort with Shirin's reticence about coming out as queer to her homophobic Iranian family. The terrific film captures, among other things, the terror of trying to get back into the dating scene when you don't really fit into any scene — beware of falling swingers — as well as the desperation of going ahead with a skeezy OkCupid hookup, just because it's better than letting your life slip by.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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