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‘Breaking Fast’ review: Queer rom-com is refreshingly simple

A different type of rom-com.

Breaking Fast is a queer romantic comedy that visits an area rarely explored. The movie follows Mo (Haaz Sleiman) a gay Muslim doctor who is still trying to get over a particularly painful breakup. When he meets Kal (Michael Cassidy) his love life and spiritual life are on course to collide head on. Will he be able to stay true to himself and his relationship?

Writer-director Mike Mosallam does not exactly break new ground with his movie. In part, that is what makes it so refreshing. Breaking Fast presents audiences with a familiar and comforting premise. Themes of affection and identity are an important part of any rom com and they are present here. The ideas are explored from a different lens, giving a fresh take on the entire genre.

One of the main conflicts of Breaking Fast centers around the attraction between Mo and Kal. Mo is a devout Muslim and the two meet on the first day of Ramadan. This means Mo will have to abstain from all physical contact no matter how much he wants to move his new relationship to the next level. The jokes write themselves at this point.

Except that is now what Mosallam does. Instead of sticking with low hanging fruit, the movie is a touching and endearing look at finding love. Breaking Fast does not do away with laughter entirely, but takes a less heavy handed approach. That being said, there is still some of the corny comedy that is to be expected from a movie from this genre.

The plot also does a good job of adding drama to the equation. Much of it comes in expected forms (the big fight leading to a breakup, a shocking revelation), but it is seamlessly woven into the narrative. There is never a moment that seems out of place or tonally wrong. This makes Breaking Fast engaging even in its more predictable moments.

'Breaking Fast' review: Queer rom-com is refreshingly simple

As with any great rom com, the chemistry is what truly sets Breaking Fast apart. Since the plot plays to audience expectations, there needs to be a strong couple for the film to work. Mo and Kal are a fun pair to follow. The two give off the “so cute it’s almost sick” vibe without actually turning the audience away. This also means those watching genuinely care for how the new couple are doing.

Romantic comedies allow for plenty of leeway. This makes it possible for a movie to bring something new to the table even when sticking to rom com tropes. Breaking Fast is a wonderful example of a movie that follows the rom com formula but injects enough new energy to stand out. This movie is strong enough to appeal to those who do not normally watch rom-coms.

Breaking Fast comes to digital and VOD January 22

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