Breaking Fast (2020)

Breaking Fast
Director: Mike Mosallam
Writer: Mike Mosallam
Cast: Haaz Sleiman, Michael Cassidy, Amin El Gamal, Patrick Sabongui, Christopher J. Hanke, Rula Gardenier
Part of: Transition Queer Film Fesitval
Seen on: 19.11.2020

Last year during Ramadan, Mo (Haaz Sleiman) and his boyfriend Hassan (Patrick Sabongui) broke up because Hassan wanted to get married to please his family. A year later and Mo is still dreading Ramadan, and especially having to break fast alone. At his best friend Sam’s (Amin El Gamal) birthday party, Mo meets Kal (Michael Cassidy) and they hit it off. Before Mo really knows what’s happening, Kal offers to break fast with him, despite the fact that Kal is not muslim.

Breaking Fast is a delightful, sweet RomCom that offers us a glimpse of what it can mean to be a gay muslim in Hollywood. I really, really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing Mo (Haaz Sleiman) and Kal (Michael Cassidy) holding each other.

Breaking Fast is the kind of movie that is just perfect for a lazy night where you just want to see something nice before you head to bed. And given that there are not enough movies that feature queer couples in that lane, and the fact that there are even less movies with queer people who are muslim, it is also a very welcome change of the usual.

And you really do get a perfect little RomCom with the film, a couple who is easy to root for and who are supercute as they get to know each other bit by bit. That in itself would be enough to make the film work. Even if the film had christian, cishet couple at its center. (Although the film is so rooted in muslim culture and beliefs that it is rather hard to imagine the film with a christian couple.)

Mo (Haaz Sleiman) and Kal (Michael Cassidy) walking together under an umbrella.

Beyond being this sweet film, it’s absolutely great that we get a film that centers the muslim perspective. So, we get to see how Mo balances his belief with his sexual orientation. But we also get to see how Sam (and to a degree, Hassan) struggle with just that. We see a very accepting family in Mo’s family, but we also see how not everyone is as open. That variety of opinion within the muslim community is beautiful and so much more than what is usually represented on film. That it does all that while never feeling heavy, is another of the film’s strengths.

The film is even more impressive for being a debut feature, although there is no denying that some things are a little hamfisted here which hints at the fact that Mosallam hasn’t a long career under his belt. But those moments are easily forgiven. Less forgivable is the fact that the film will leave you with a hankering for kanafeh, and doesn’t automatically provide some. I wasn’t prepared for that and didn’t have any. So, be smarter than me, get yourself some kanafeh and enjoy.

Mo (Haaz Sleiman) and Kal (Michael Cassidy) having dinner with friends.

Summarizing: simply lovely.

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