ENTERTAINMENT

'Breaking Fast' Follows Gay Muslim Man Looking For Love During Ramadan

The romantic comedy stars Haaz Sleiman and Michael Cassidy as a cross-cultural, would-be couple and is due out Jan. 22.

A gay Muslim man embarks on a cross-cultural romance in “Breaking Fast,” a new comedy due out in early 2021. 

Set in Los Angeles during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, “Breaking Fast” follows Mohammad, or Mo (played by Haaz Sleiman), a Muslim doctor who is reeling from a recent heartbreak. One birthday party meet-cute later, he finds himself falling for Kal (Michael Cassidy), an aspiring actor.

Unfortunately for Mo, the timing of the meeting presents numerous challenges, and he must navigate his feelings for Kal while honoring Ramadan, during which Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual activity from dawn to sunset. 

Viewers nationwide got their first look at “Breaking Fast” with the release of the film’s first trailer, viewable above, Wednesday. The movie debuted at California’s Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in March and was subsequently screened digitally at Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival and San Francisco’s Frameline, among other festivals.

Haaz Sleiman (left) and Michael Cassidy star in "Breaking Fast," due out Jan. 22. 
Haaz Sleiman (left) and Michael Cassidy star in "Breaking Fast," due out Jan. 22. 

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, director and co-writer Mike Mosallam said he sees his film as an homage to classic romantic comedies, albeit with a queer intersectional twist.  

“I wanted to make a movie that would star Julia Roberts, if, in fact, she was a gay, Muslim, Arab man living in West Hollywood, California,” Mosallam said. In a separate interview, he added, “My intention is to tell a story that speaks to the nuances of daily life and treats identity ― religious, sexual, gender and otherwise ― as harmonious lenses by which individuals interact with the world.” 

Early reviews of “Breaking Fast” have been positive. One critic called the movie “an entirely pertinent tale in a world that still struggles with the idea that a man can be gay and Muslim without feeling torn between the two,” while another applauded Mosallam and Seth Hauer’s script for “pushing back against its generic confines.” 

Sleiman, whose credits include “Nurse Jackie” and “Jack Ryan,” was praised for turning in an “endearingly neurotic” performance. 

“Breaking Fast” will be available digitally and on demand on Jan. 22.