Breaking Fast (2020)
“Don’t let last year define who you are this year.”
Breaking Fast is a refreshing rom-com that combines different representation in the queer film sphere with a new look at identity. From IMDB: “Mo, a practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, is learning to navigate life post heartbreak. Enter Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan.”
I found it really interesting the film starts out with a breakup over coming out. Hassan is Mo’s boyfriend of some time who isn’t in the same place as Mo in terms of being out to family. He has good reason for this, but Mo doesn’t see it that way. Mo sees things how Mo sees things. “I’m constantly reframing people’s problems as if they were my own.” The problem with this is Mo becomes or seems less empathetic.
The film doesn’t focus on the conflict between being gay and Muslim, but it does include this theme. And I like how it shows different ways of looking at the issue. Mo says, “I was born gay and love God. The two should be able to coexist.” And in his world it mostly does. His family is accepting and he lives in WeHo so that’s his bubble.
But his best friend, Sam, sees it quite differently. He has seen the other side of the bubble, and calls out the example of a gay man being thrown off a building by someone claiming to do this because of their Muslim faith. He has sworn off his religion. There is a poignant scene over dinner where I see each character representing something different in the conversation.
I found the relationship part of this rom-com to be fulfilling. It featured a good amount of development so that it was believable and I found myself invested. Mo and Kal have an instant connection that builds as they have experiences and get to know each other as people. I liked that there was no sex in their relationship building, and it focused on character development which made the story more rich and satisfying.
I loved one of the first scenes where Mo and Kal connect over Superman, and I thought it was interesting how the theme of Superman carried through the film. Superman is a person of dual identity, and both Mo and Kal have this same element to them. I also enjoyed the scenes where they were cooking dinner and reading lines together. It made me laugh out loud.
I had never heard of the term “bright siding” before watching this film. It’s like a form of gaslighting, and I can see how it can be equally irritating. Apparently, Mo has a habit of doing this, and it gets in the way of his connections with others. In my notes I wrote that Mo sometimes doesn’t see the other side of things or acknowledge other people’s feelings, instead telling them how they should or could feel.
Mo grows as a person during this film, and I enjoyed watching his journey. Through the people around him and where he needs to go as a person, he changes how he relates to and connects with others. It’s a good reminder to remember other perspectives and see the world through other people’s eyes before deciding how you should react. One’s identity can be a lens through which we process the world around us, but we should remember all the different lenses that can change a perspective.
I can see why this film has won multiple awards, and would definitely recommend watching.
IMDb.com. (2021, January 22). Breaking fast. IMDb. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9112712/?ref_=tt_mv_close
ckello2. (2011, June 9). Brightsiding. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brightsiding