Thirty-year-old New Yorker Desiree Akhavan writes, directs and stars in this indie feature. She plays Shirin, an Iranian-American hipster trying to recover from a break-up with her girlfriend. There are shades of ‘Girls’ here (Akhavan and Lena Dunham are buddies in real life, and the rising star appears in the new season). But ‘Appropriate Behaviour’ isn’t all knowing LOLs; there’s a satisfying depth and heart here that’s more in line with ‘Annie Hall’.
In flashbacks we watch Shirin’s relationship with her ex sputter into life and run a wobbly course to its ignominious end (‘You’re ruining my birthday! You’re ruining my twenties!’). Shirin’s awkwardness may be fashionable, but it’s not affected – she’s genuinely scared to confess her bisexuality to her conservative Iranian parents, and doesn’t remotely fit in at her family circle’s Persian parties, any more than she suits the supposedly confidence-boosting bustier she’s coaxed into wearing at a fancy lingerie store.
For all the brazen charms of this warm and funny debut, though, its quieter moments signal a profundity that’s really worth getting excited about.