Breaking Fast Review – SQIFF 2020

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Director: Mike Mosallam
Starring: Patrick Sabongui, Michael Cassidy

After his 2015 short film of the same name director Mike Mosallam is back with a full-length feature version of his rom-com, Breaking Fast.

His film tells the story of Mo, a gay Muslim doctor living in Los Angeles, who’s preparing to enter the month of Ramadan.

However, on the first day of this holy month he meets an actor at a friend’s birthday party called Kai, and from here on in the pair get to know each other by sharing Iftars each night to break Mo’s daily fast.

Yes Gawd

Breaking-Fast-Stills

Credit: Vertical Entertainment

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Breaking Fast isn’t shy about including religion in its story, and in fact it’s an integral part of this narrative.

It’s rare to see religion and homosexuality sharing the screen together in a more positive light, as usually the two are pitted against each other.

However, Breaking Fast breaks this tradition and shows that religion and homosexuality can co-exist in a more positive way, and it’s a joy to witness.

This isn’t to say that there’s no discussion around these topics though, it’s quite the opposite actually.

The film includes lots of interesting conversations about Islam and homosexuality, shedding light on the different viewpoints of those who are gay and Muslim, or who at least have a good understanding of the Muslim faith.

This leads to a natural and easy to engage film with a discussion that weaves its way through the film, including the use of Arabic language on several occasions.

This type of content really enriches the film, giving great representation to gay Muslims in a way that is hardly ever seen on screen.

Is he, you know?

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Credit: Vertical Entertainment

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You might be tempted to think that because of the religious elements Breaking Fast might not really feel that gay, well you’d be wrong honey.

Big fab needle drops like Lizzo’s Boys and Judy Garland’s The Trolley Song, among others, quickly reinforce the queerness of the picture.

In addition to this, it features a lot of gay references, language and captures elements of the culture very well.

Mo’s best friend Sam, played by Amin El Gamal, is responsible for a large amount of this, and he also brings a lot of the funny that the film has to offer in abundance.

The queer romance at the centre of the film works really well too.

Both Mo and Kai are very likeable and they have a super cute chemistry with each other thanks to the respective performances from Haaz Sleiman and Michael Cassidy.

The film gives the pair plenty of adorable moments and makes it really easy for audiences to root for them.

The strength of the romantic storyline and the comedy in the film does make it more evident that the dramatic elements of the screenplay aren’t quite at the same level though and as a result, there’s a bit of a lull in the narrative just before the finale.

However, when everything else in the film is just so enjoyable it’s easy to excuse this and the swift ninety-minute running time means there’s not long to wait before things pick up again.

At the End of the Gay

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Credit: Vertical Entertainment

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Ultimately Breaking Fast is a breath of fresh air for gay cinema, providing a light-hearted rom-com full of queer joy and comedy and offering a much-needed change from the more sombre stories that saturate the genre.

Its positive representation of a gay Muslim man is wonderful to see and its discussions about faith and sexuality help to educate and raise awareness about these often neglected topics.

Whilst it struggles slightly with its dramatic elements it’s impossible to hold this against it as it’s just so well-intentioned and more often than not just simply lovely viewing.

What do you make of this review?

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The Breakdown


EXPECTATION
6
ENJOYMENT
8
UPON REFLECTION
7



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