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.

  • ★★★★ 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

  • ★★★★ review by One Room With A View on Letterboxd


    Signature Move lies at the intersection of women’s wrestling, closeted homosexuality and the communities of Mexican and Pakistani diaspora in today’s Chicago. A portrait of people on the move, whether this be in punchy forward progression or reticent backward digression, this is an original story of what it is like to breach the unknown.

    The film asks what it means to love another woman. Unusually, the central concern of the film lies in the struggle for intergenerational acceptance more than it does society’s tolerance towards homosexual relationships. Kinship bonds between mothers and their daughters’ girlfriends are more affecting than the relationship between Zaynab (Fawzi Mirza) and Alma (Sari Sanchez). Zaynab’s mother Parveen (Bollywood legend Shabana Azmi) steals the show. Brainwashed by heteronormative TV dramas, she searches for her daughter’s husband through binoculars but the world outside is, for her, frighteningly cosmopolitan, a melting pot with supermarkets in which you might mistakenly pick up a Mexican mango when you need a Pakistani one.

    Signature Move follows in the footsteps of Desiree Akhavan’s 2015 migrant lesbian love story Appropriate Behaviour while, mercifully, leaving its idolatrous Brooklyn hipsters behind (Alma and Zaynah pay for their tequila shots with the money they earn from their real jobs which you see them actually doing). It’s nice to get a sense of continuity between these two deadpan comedies but, and this is probably due to budget constraints, the 80 minute run time doesn’t feel long enough to have granted the plot its necessary weight.

    With memories of Appropriate Behaviour still fresh from film festivals past, it will be hard for Signature Move to make much headway; nonetheless, it’s nice to see another story of minority women overcoming adversity through sport (such as Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits). If only there was a bit more.

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  • ★★★½ review by Morgan White on Letterboxd

    The mother was great, and the wrestling was funny. Saw at BFI Flare in London.

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