Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Atharva Verma, Hasan Minhaj, Rizwan Manji, and Ayana Manji
Director: Imran J. Khan
Coming-of-age films are only as good as the main character we watch come of age, and in Mustache, the combination of singular narration, break-neck editing, short runtime, and brisk pacing quickly connects us to the protagonist, Ilyas (Atharva Verma). Through his eyes, the film truly captures the utter awkwardness of being 13 years-old: trying to figure yourself out, making dumbass mistakes, finding new friends, and bumbling into adolescence. Mustache tightly establishes itself as a creatively directed, authentically acted, very wholesome gem of a movie.
With its grounded and awkward coming-of-age story set in the mid-90s, Mustache brings us back to that weird stage of adolescence when we are simply trying to find our place in life. While the film had the potential to be a decent story, it just isn’t fleshed out enough to make for a solid journey throughout, with the film feeling its most authentic only in the last 15 minutes. It also is a dry film that is uneven with its character development, especially with regards to Ilyas’ (Atharva Verma) family dynamic, which should have been more at the forefront.