A blend of satir­i­cal jaun­dice and naked de­light

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE


Di­rected by De­siree Akha­van. Star­ring De­siree Akha­van, Re­becca Hen­der­son, Scott Ad­sit, Hal­ley Feif­fer .Club, IFI, 90 min

Ap­pro­pri­ate Be­hav­iour is set in and about the numb­ingly hip en­vi­rons of Park Slope, Brook­lyn and it is happy to wal­low in that neigh­bour­hood’s pre­ten­tions, in­dul­gences and first-world neu­roses. The trick is that the film knows it’s an­noy­ing.

In­deed, ris­ing poly­math De­siree Akha­van achieves a near-per­fect blend of satir­i­cal jaun­dice and naked de­light in all things bo­hemian.

It helps that Akha­van the direc­tor can call on Akha­van the ac­tor for some first-class stone-faced tut­ting and sigh­ing.

She plays a bi­sex­ual Ira­nian-Amer­i­can named Shirin who, af­ter break­ing up with her girl­friend, gets cast adrift among the ar­ti­san cheese mer­chants of New York’s most fash­ion­able bor­ough. Her un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to de­velop a new life – at one point tak­ing part in an un­com­fort­able three­some – are in­ter­cut with ear­lier episodes from the re­la­tion­ship she is mourn­ing.

Life is fur­ther com­pli­cated by her un­will­ing­ness to come out to her seem­ingly rea­son­able mother and fa­ther. When they ask why there is only one bed in the apart­ment, she men­tions ac­quain­tances who saved money that way and were thus able to af­ford “very ex­pen­sive wed­dings to their boyfriends.”

Al­most every­body is an out­sider in this new Bo­hemia, but, as an Ira­nian, Shirin is just that tiny bit more ex­otic.

That ex­tra mil­lime­tre of dis­tance al­lows her end­lessly fe­cund comic dis­tance. Her dry re­ac­tion to the film school for pam­pered five-years-olds is, in it­self, worth the en­trance fee.

Ap­pro­pri­ate Be­hav­iour is not par­tic­u­larly good-look­ing or in­no­va­tive, but warm laugh­ter abounds through­out. Some­times that will do well enough.

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