Cinequest 2020: Breaking Fast

A practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, Mo (Haaz Sleiman) is learning to navigate life post-heartbreak. After a year alone, here enters Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan.

The film is much more than a love story between seeming polar opposites, a successful doctor and an actor who have a difference in race, lifestyle, and family. Mo’s family is supportive, playing against the notion that Muslims are against homosexuality. Even Mo acknowledges how his life has been much easier because of his parents’ acceptance, which has led Mo to stronger faith. He defiantly expresses his beliefs, despite the reservations of his cousin Sam (Amin El Gamal) also gay and avoiding his family’s religious beliefs, citing his own experiences with persecution. There’s even a very clever joke about how Muslim actors in Hollywood are always getting cast as terrorists (Haaz Sleiman himself played a terrorist in the most recent adaptation of Jack Ryan).

At the beginning of the film Mo was with Hassan (Patrick Sabongui), who is having his own crisis of faith as he hasn’t able to come out his family and even brings up the notion of marrying a woman just to appease his ill father. Heartbroken, Mo cannot understand this point of view, rejecting Hassan.

When Kal enters his life innocuously at a party celebrating Sam’s birthday. Mo is immediately attracted, but indeed feels it is not going to work and separates himself. The two have a chance meeting at Mo’s hospital the next day, and Kal insists he see him, but Mo strictly observes Ramadan. Kal, who spent part of his childhood in Jordan, fully understands and offers to break fast with him. Indeed the two break fast for a couple weeks every night as the pair grow closer.

Some revelations come to light about Kal and his family, which maybe Mo might not be able to accept. Will Mo make the same rash judgement that he did with Hassan, or will he give Kal the benefit of the doubt?

What makes the film engaging throughout is writer/director Mike Mosallam’s balancing act throughout the filmĀ  of several important topics, while really focusing on the love story.

Breaking Fast is a progressive love story for the year 2020, to be enjoyed by everyone.

Though Cinequest has been rescheduled for August, we will still be covering the films selected to play there. Updated information can be found here.

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About Mac Williams
Mac is freelance writer/dramaturg. In addition to fanboy planet, he also covers high school sports for Prep2Prep. As a dramaturg he has worked with such theatre companies as City Lights Theatre Company, San Jose Stage, San Jose Repertory Theatre & Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He also coaches Boy's Varsity Soccer and helps out in the Performing Arts Department of Archbishop Mitty High School. Proud Disneyland Pass Holder & D23 Member.