June is Pride Month and AiPT! has celebrated with a series of articles and podcasts. Amazon Prime Video is celebrating Pride month with a page dedicated to LGBTQ+ films. Along with shows and familiar movies, Amazon is featuring Pride exclusives.
Signature Move is a 2017 film that centers around the life of Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza) a Pakistani lawyer that lives in Chicago with her mother Parveen. Zaynab, an independent woman who values her privacy, is learning to adapt to having her mother at home. The attorney is also beginning to develop feelings for Alma, a charming and confident Mexican bookstore owner. DIrected by Jennifer Reeder and co-written by Fawzia Mirza (who introduced herself as a lesbian right before the announcement of the film), this indie comedy delivers laughs, luchadoras, and the complexities of mother/daughter relationships.
Strong performances contribute to the charm that pervades throughout Signature Move. Charin Alvarez and Shabana Azmi’s performances as the mothers in the film, engage the audience with warmth and charisma. Mirza has excellent comedic timing as she bounces from serious lawyer, to novice wrestler, to a woman in pursuit of love. Sari Sanchez is bewitching and refreshing in her portrayal of Alma.
The film is fast-paced. The audience immediately gets a sense of the relationship between Zaynab and her mother Parveen (Azmi). Zaynab would very much love her mother to get out and start a new life after finding herself recently widowed, but Parveen would rather stay at home and watch Pakistani soap operas and spy on the outside world with binoculars.
The limited dialogue between Zaynab and Parveen sharply contrasts to that of Alma and her own mother, which is very open. The writing demonstrates the bond and love between the families despite the differences in relationships and cultures. The banter between Zaynab and Alma is witty and illustrates their compatibility as they work to get to know one another.
A particular detail that stands out is the film’s use of color. There is a notable use of vibrant reds, purples, and greens that highlight poignant moments between Zaynab and Alma as they navigate their relationship. There is also a brightness that pops in certain scenes in a grocery store or neighborhood bar that complement the light-hearted tone of the film.
While the quick pace prevents any lags in the story, there are some holes in the story’s progression. There are some important moments between Zaynab and Parveen that are not really addressed. Some of those moments feel sacrificed in order to maintain the light tone of the film. The ending also feels a bit abrupt and again some issues feel deserving of more attention, especially when the issues are part of the conflict. Even so, the luchadora plot element is clever and punctuates the film as Zaynab finds herself in a wrestling match against her own identity.
Despite its very few flaws, the film is delightful and wonderful to watch. The sexy and funny love story will reel the viewer in, but the film is ultimately about mothers, daughters, and the secrets that bind them.