Breaking Fast

Breaking Fast is about Mo, a gay Muslim doctor in West Hollywood as he has this sort of chaste romance with Kal, this white actor, across Ramadan.

Okay, so this is a mixed bag.

Points for positive representation of gay Muslims, when positive representation of Muslims at all is scarce in American media. And a lot of the acting is pretty good and the whole tone of the movie is sweet.

The dialogue is awful. Just a rolling stomach churn of cringe from one moment to the next. Like, haven’t you ever heard how people talk? A total show, don’t tell lesson unlearned. People are constantly saying “I’m kidding!” instead of looking like they’re kidding. To be fair, it was the writer/director’s first feature, so a lot of this can just be chalked up to it being his first go.

Also this one of those “problem” movies, where you can’t just be gay and Muslim, you have to explain being gay and Muslim. You can’t just introduce a gay Muslim character and then the story begins, it constantly comes up and needs to have discussion. Mo’s conversations with his white, non-Muslim love interest Kal feels like a proxy for the director’s conversation with the presumably white, non-Muslim audience. Which is not great. But you know, there are not exactly a plethora of movies about gay Muslim men, maybe the director felt his film needed to lay that groundwork for anything else to go after.

Kal, the love interest, is the cringiest white guy showing that he’s down. He tries to show he can cook Arab dishes better than Arab folk. He compares the prejudice against Muslims to his inability to be taken seriously while being a good-looking hunk. Ugh.

Special props go to Amin El Gamal, who manages to take the camp best friend stereotype and clunky dialogue, and really make it feel natural.