screen gems

Before ‘Eternals,’ Haaz Sleiman won our hearts in a warm & fuzzy rom-com

Breaking Fast

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Fuzzy: Breaking Fast

Director Mike Mosallam and actor Haaz Sleiman announced themselves as rising queer talents with this delightful romantic comedy back in 2020. Breaking Fast stars Haaz Sleiman as Mo, a gay Muslim doctor recovering from a breakup with his boyfriend. Passions flare when he meets the handsome Kal (Michael Cassidy), but there’s a problem: during the month of Ramadan, Mo can’t have sex. Can Mo balance his faith with his budding feelings for Kal? Or is he using Ramadan as an excuse for something else?

Mosallam directs Breaking Fast with effervescent energy and finds just the right tone for a romance. It helps, of course, that he has the committed support of his cast, led by Sleiman in a charismatic performance. Before Breaking Fast, Sleiman never had an opportunity to show off this kind of range or ability–the movie proves him an effective and interesting leading man. Mosallam also uses the film as an opportunity to portray Muslims in a way they rarely appear in American films. Far from the typical religious or fanatical caricatures that have dominated popular media, Mo, and in particular, his friend Sam (Amin El Gamal), both regard their faith with a degree of pragmatism and Western perspective. For that matter, we can’t think of too many other series or films that show gay Muslims unashamed of their sexuality or faith. Breaking Fast, like its characters, finds a healthy way for the two to coexist, offering a subtle hope for viewers that the nations currently banning Eternals over its gay characters might one day accept LGBTQ people in real life, and on the screen.

Breaking Fast offers a delightful mix of humor and romance, assured direction by Mosallam and an appealing lead performance by Sleiman. Give it a watch this weekend with or without Eternals, and recognize the bright futures of Sleiman and Mosallam have ahead. We predict both will play important roles in the future of LGBTQ cinema.

Streams on Dekkoo, Hulu & VUDU.