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Saturday, November 20th

Upstairs at 8:30 PM

Breaking Fast
Breaking Fast - Trailer
Breaking Fast
(2020, 92 min)

Country: United States

Director: Mike Mosallam

Studio: Netflix

Language: English


Set against the twinkling lights of West Hollywood, "Breaking Fast" is a delightful new culture-clash romantic comedy that follows Mo (Haaz Sleiman), a practicing Muslim still reeling from heartbreak. When an All-American guy named Kal (Michael Massidy) offers to join him in his nightly Iftars - the traditional meal eaten by Muslims during Ramadan - meal after meal, the two start to discover they have more in common than meets the eye. The two soon start to fall in love over all the things that they have in common and - more importantly - the things they don't.


Writer/director Mike Mosallam's first feature film, "Breaking Fast" is a queer romantic comedy and a look at what it is to be a gay Arab in West Hollywood. We see that love rules. The movie begins on the evening before Ramadan . We meet Mo (Haaz Sleiman) who is entertaining his family at his home where they are preparing the meal, His boyfriend is still in the closet and tells Mo that he needs to break up because his family has begun to suspect he is gay. Unlike Mo's liberal family, the boyfriend's family is ultra-conservative and the knowledge that he is gay could have fatal consequences. We then skip forward a year and another Ramadan is beginning. Mo has not recovered from his broken heart, but is persuaded to go to the birthday of his best friend Sam (Ami El Gamal). At the party, he meets Kal (Michael Cassidy), an all-American jock who is very good-looking and not only speaks Arabic (his father is in the military stationed in Jordan) but the two men have a few things in common.

Kal invites himself to join Mo in his nightly Iftars, the traditional meal eaten by Muslims during Ramadan after sunset, but since Mo is extremely religious he also insists on abstaining from anything approaching sexual relations during the holiday. As Mo tries to work his feelings about Kal and think about their new friendship could be going, he gets a text from his ex who married a woman to get away from family but they have already separated, and now he thinks he wants to come back to Mo and pick up where they had left off.

Mo has reached a state of peace with being a gay Muslim but his rigidity about his faith, doesn't sit too well with everyone. Sam is also an Arab and not the least bit religious and will let nothing get in the way of making out with his American boyfriend. Mo however feels that during the present political climate even West Hollywood is not an easy place for gay Arabs to live.

Mosallam adapted this from his short film of the same name and he has great empathy with the topic and there is a real authenticity to the screenplay. The performances of his two lead actors are excellent.

Mosallam intends telling a story that speaks to the nuances of daily life and treats religious, sexual, gender identity as seen in the way individuals interact with the world. He most definitely succeeds.

-- Review by Amos Lassen, Reviews(http://wwww.reviewsbyamoslassen.com)