Signature Move

A secret new romance with Alma forces Zaynab to confront her complicated relationship with her recently widowed mother. In this coming-of-age Muslim melodrama, Zaynab copes by taking up Lucha-style wrestling.

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  • ★★★½ review by Nick Isaac on Letterboxd

    A fusion burrito of everything that makes America great - Everything your Trump voting uncle would hate.

    See my full SXSW review over at Talk Film Society.

    SXSW 2017: Signature Move

  • ★★★½ review by Erika Sorensen on Letterboxd

    MSPIFF 2017 #12

    A bit amateurish and a bit cliche but all the ways it's not cliche and it's raw, charismatic charm won me over. I mean, have you ever seen a movie about a gay Pakistani-American woman who takes up Mexican wrestling because of a girl? I think this might be the only one. And Fawzia Mirza (as seen in Her Story!!!) in the lead role is so good. I could watch an entire Netflix comedy show about her gay adventures. Please, universe, you owe us all.

  • ★★★½ review by Nik on Letterboxd

    Zaynab is a happy but timid and closeted lesbian lawyer. She is also the caretaker of her widowed Muslim mother, hence the closeting. She meets the far more extroverted Alma and the two hit it off for a one night stand, that softly turns into relationship territory.

    Alma's Mexican family embraces her homosexuality as just another defining characteristic to take pride in. Zaynab's mother is pleasant, but a homebody, watching neighbors through binoculars to find husband prospects for her daughter.

    As the mother, Shabana Azmi gives the strongest performance in the movie. She has the ability to transform into subtle portrayals, being comfortable in her traditional role and quiet heartbreak about the death of her husband. As Zaynab and Alma's relationship grows, Alma becomes frustrated at Zaynab's inability to be honest with herself and her mother.

    That level of honesty is measured in the wrestling subplot. And it is a subplot- being far more represented on the poster and in advertising than actually is used in the film. Nonetheless Zaynab takes part in some training and eventual performing.

    It's a good romantic comedy which probably doesn't tread much new ground on the front of fear and repression being overcome by love. But there was enough cultural uniqueness to set the movie apart. While each the Mexican and Muslim camps value a sense of honor, they do it in different ways. And it was valuable to see them bring their influences into the ring.

    Part of my 2017 list.

  • ★★★½ review by Scott on Letterboxd

    Incredibly charming romantic comedy about two POC queer women falling for each other, while the one who's Pakistani and Muslim figures out how to deal with how much her mom knows about her personal life. Some dialogue is a little too on the nose, but the romantic chemistry is very sweet and the actress playing the mom does show an inner complexity which makes it more than just a stock villain. And there's Mexican luchadore wrestling. Whaddya need, a road map?

  • ★★★★ review by Michalis on Letterboxd

    I watched this movie at the BFI as part of the Flare 2017: London Gay Film Festival

    This was the closing night gala followed by a Q&A with some of the creatives

    Legendary actress Shabana Azmi effortlessly steals the show in every single scene she is in. Her acting skills are so nuanced that we understand more from a move of her eyes than we would do from a thousand words.

    Its endearing to watch the bland of traditional famiy and cultural ties of a Pakistani-American lawyer intermingled with the feminist/lesbian politics.

    A cross-cultural romantic comedy that is rather pleasant if not radical

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