‘Appropriate Behavior’: The Importance of Unromantic Comedy

In an awards season teeming with adorable, quirky romantic comedies, Desiree Akhavan’s decidedly unromantic comedy is a nice departure from average depictions of relationship woes. In ‘Appropriate Behavior’ protagonist Shirin (played by writer/director Akhavan) struggles with finding her way in the world, stuck between her traditional Iranian family’s expectations and her own desires after a…

The Scholar Must Die: Lars von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’

I began to write, at the force of a mental flood, about Lars von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’ parts I and II on the subway the morning after I finished the second film. First, I got down what I thought, beginning with how angry I was that the Scholar character who saves Joe ended up being so…

Empathy, Lust and Love: ‘The Sessions’

After seeing ‘The Sessions’, I was left wondering about the actual purpose of love in some people’s lives. It often leaves us feeling elated, then broken or nervous to a state of insecurity, then in pieces that need to be picked up fast so that we can survive from day to day. Love doesn’t feed,…