Review: Signature Move

Review: Signature Move

By Camille Ora-Nicole

signature move

I admit – when I saw Signature Move at the 2017 Outfest Fusion Film Festival, I had no idea what I was in for. A friend chose the film and since it was her first queer film festival, I agreed. To this day I thank Lesbian Jesus (because Hayley Kiyoko always was and will be Lesbian Jesus) for giving me the opportunity to see it. Not only was it a great film, but along with other films I saw during that festival,  it was an indicator that quality queer filmmaking is on a sharp rise.

“Signature Move not only delivers an important message, but it is humorous, sweet, well-shot, and diverse.”

The film (written by Fawzia Mirza and directed by Jennifer Reeder) is set in Chicago and follows Zayna (Fawzia Mirza), an American-Pakistani lawyer. She finds herself in a relationship with a free-spirited Mexican-American bookstore owner named Alma (Sari Sanchez). While Alma’s family is supportive of Alma’s identities and relationships, Zayna’s mother obsesses with finding her semi-closeted daughter a husband.

Sounds typical, right? Here’s the wrench. Zayna loves wrestling. She uses it to vent her frustrations with being her mother’s “person.” It also becomes her way of dealing with the stress that comes with being with someone who is pressuring her to be “out.” Wrestling ends up being her way of finding resolutions to her issues, mending some relationships, and growing others. 

At the core of Signature Move is an issue that has no real right answers: dating while closeted. Despite the progress that LGBTQ+ people have made in the United States and elsewhere, there are still many queer folx that are ostracized for being who they are. If not kicked out or disowned, coming out can damage familial relationships.

Of course, one can always say that if your family doesn’t respect you, then screw your family. The reality is that it’s not always so simple. In writing this screenplay, Fawzia Mirza illustrates the complications of the issue beautifully. With a steady hand, she also showcases how being with someone who is out can be a struggle for both parties.

In this case, the solution to dating someone who isn’t out is understanding and patience. Two different people mean two different timelines and paths, regardless of how close those paths may be to each other. 

Signature Move not only delivers an important message, but it is humorous, sweet, well-shot, and diverse. Films like this are the reason why I continue to support queer filmmaking. Our continued support, regardless of an occasional dud, will only help queer filmmaking improve. With improvement comes more great films like this one. 

Signature Move is now available to stream and buy through Amazon Prime, Itunes, and Fandango Now.

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