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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 7, 2021



‘BREAKING FAST’ is a movie that will delight the LGBT community. It’s a romcom where the two lead characters are both men.

 We had no expectations when we watched it. We thought it’s going to be like many other movies that we start but don’t get to finish at all for one reason or another. 

Set in WeHo (West Hollywood), the film is about Mohammad or Mo (Haaz Sleiman), a Muslim doctor whose parents are Arab immigrants from Lebanon. 

The story starts at their family reunion to celebrate the start of Ramadan, a month long tradition where Muslims are supposed to fast and abstain from sexual activity. 

Mo has a boyfriend, Hassan (Patrick Sabongui), and his family are very supportive of their relationship. But Hassan has yet to out himself to his own family.

He’s worried that a cousin of his has discovered that he is gay and now threatens to squeal on him to his very conservative father who’s still in Lebanon. 

Afraid that he’ll be disowned by his family and his dad might have a heart attack, he tells Mo that he’s going to marry a woman, so his family won’t suspect that he’s gay.  Mo is broken hearted when Hassan leaves him. 

A year later, Mo’s swishy gay best friend, Sam (Amin El Gamal, who steals so many scenes), urges him to move on and date other guys. He asks Mo to attend his birthday party and Mo reluctantly does. 

Sam’s crush comes to the party with a friend, Kal (Michael Cassidy), an actor, who’s very friendly, but Mo tries to resist him. 

Sam tries to be a matchmaker between them and speaks to Mo in Arabic, but they’re surprised when Kal talks also in Arabic and understands what they’re talking about. It turns out he once lived in Jordan where he learned how to speak Arabic.

As Mo is leaving, Kal walks with him. Kal mentions that his full name is Kal El, which is the true Krypton name of Superman. 

It turns out Mo is also a big Superman fan and they both like Christopher Reeve in the first “Superman” movie. They cite their favorite scene in the movie and their conversation extended up to the wee hours of the morning. 

Kal says it must be hard to be a Muslim and gay. Mo says: “I was born gay and I love God. The two can and should be able to co-exist.” 

Kal later goes to Mo’s place to cook for him the dinner called Iftar that Muslims are allowed to eat during Ramadan to break their fasting. 

He turns out to be a good cook, but Mo is very careful in committing himself to another relationship, even if Kal looks like he is Mr. Right. 

He’s just worried that he might have another heartbreak. They get to know each other better and Mo learns that, whereas he comes from a closely knit family, Kal comes from a very dysfunctional one and has an alcoholic dad. 

We do root for them even if it looks like they don’t have any common ground with which they can have a serious relationship. 

The movie works because the two leads are very persuasive in their respective roles as straight acting gays. 

We learned that Haaz Sleiman (best known for the film “The Visitor”) is really born in Lebanon and is actually gay, but Michael Cassidy (best known for TV series “The O.C.”, “Men at Work” and “People of Earth”) is not and he’s married with two kids. 

Their appealing performances are founded on authentic and realistic emotions. 

El Gamal’s Sam as the effeminate and loud friend serves as effective comic relief but he has his own serious scene when he argues with Mo about their faith, Mo’s devotion to Islam and his own views on why he doesn’t agree with it. 

Somehow, you could say the movie follows the usual formula in romcoms with two prospective lovers having a cute meet, then someone is afraid to commit and just when they are getting cozy with each other, they get into a big conflict that threatens to destroy their budding relationship. 

But writer-director Mike Mosallam is successful in avoiding melodramatic moments by injecting a lot of hilarious elements even as he assumes a complex perspective showing the touchy intersection of being Muslim and homosexual and how to have a relationship with someone who doesn’s share one’s faith. 

This is a sweet film done with much charm and wit (it even pays homage to “The Sound of Music” and the song “Climb Every Mountain”) that most viewers can relate with, no matter what your gender or religion may be. 

Its treatment of matters concerning love, family, and the differences between one’s faith and culture makes it different from other LGBT films. 

Also, after watching this, we suddenly felt a craving for Middle Eastern dishes.