Appropriate Behavior

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Appropriate Behavior
Desiree Akhavan in Appropriate Behavior
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Appropriate Behaviour is the sort of film that fans will want to watch again and again, so it's a great choice for a DVD purchase and it works just as well on a small screen as on a big one. This DVD comes with a subtantial package of extras. Director/star Desiree Akhavan could talk the hind legs off a donkey and most of these extras essentially comprise of her talking in one context or another, sometimes with input from others involved with the film, but there's very little in the way of repetition. Rather, listening to her is like watching a fractal unfold, observing more and more possibilities as each new point is raised, seeing the myriad ways in which the film might have evolved before solidifying into an experience which, in turn, forms the basis for her own critique and talk of future projects.

A great deal of ground is covered here, from filmmaking techniques to rubbish lesbianism, the unknowableness of children, her love of the work of Woody Allen ("not him personally because I think he's disgusting"), evolving approaches to collaborative writing and the mysteries of shopping for that one unattainable item that just might save her and change her whole life. Her natural gift for comedy comes across as well in the extras as it does in the film, as does her enormous enthusiasm for her work, perhaps more necessary in he face of the barriers she acknowledges female filmmakers face; she's an artist striving for perfection but it's clearly imperfection that really fascinates her and in inspires her work. The messiness of it all, even here, is delightful, though it's been skillfully edited into something resembling a set of coherent narratives.

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Usually extras are things you'll watch once, mostly out of curiosity. In this case they're a pleasure to which you may well find yourself returning. If Akhavan's career takes off the way it deserves to, these early conversations will only become more fascinating.

Reviewed on: 22 May 2015
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Appropriate Behavior packshot
A young New Yorker struggles to understand herself in the aftermath of a break-up.
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Product Code: ASIN: B00SX12WYA

Region: 2

Extras: Interview with director/producer; behind the scenes; a Met school masterclass preview; DesireeAkhavan Q&A at BFI Flare; trailer; director's commentary track.


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