Jamie Neish: Catch Appropriate Behaviour

Desiree Akhavan. Pic: Comp
Desiree Akhavan. Pic: Comp
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APPROPRIATE Behaviour first came to my attention a month or so ago, when US reviews started to crop up on my Twitter feed.

So when the film’s UK release date was announced, a screener from distributors Peccadillo Pictures was sent my way - it left me hugely impressed.

Appropriate Behaviour - written, directed by and starring Girls co-star Desiree Akhavan - is a candid, sharply fun and confident self-portrait of one woman’s pursuit of herself.

The film flits between the past and present, both as Shirin (Akhavan) embarks on a relationship with Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) and as said relationship ends.

It perhaps works best in the present, particularly in the ways Shirin attempts to move on with her life, whether it’s haphazardly entering into threesomes or agreeing to teach filmmaking to five-year-olds.

The script is tremendously sharp, with the course of Shirin’s life - warts and all - unfolding naturally, Akhavan making light of real-life situations to make them seem more real.

In her performance, Akhavan too is an open-book, performing as if she’s living and breathing every situation, which makes scenes like the awkward threesome painfully hilarious to watch.

There’s a feeling, though, that the film doesn’t always work. The theme of religious expectations is forever in the background (Shirin is from a Persian family, but hasn’t yet made them aware of her bisexual tendencies, which adds further complications), but doesn’t quite have the depth it needs.

But then the negatives are greatly outweighed by the positives, for Appropriate Behaviour is a 20-something, coming of age drama that embraces its many clichés while also carving a unique place for itself.