Ever since the Autumn of 2016, and under the administration of Donald Trump, countless groups of people have been vilified, scrutinised, and scapegoated by the very government that is supposed to represent them. From the announcement of Trump’s decision to campaign to become the president of the United States onwards, much conversation in America has revolved around the rights of minorities, and much of it has resulted in vitriol. Those affected by the president’s particular brand of cruelty include Muslims, Mexicans, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anything that differs from the traditional straight, white, male is considered ‘alien’ and is thrown into a relentless campaign of hatred. In times such as these, it is essential, I believe, that art does all it can to combat such harmful ideologies. That, fortunately, is exactly what ‘Signature Move’ does.
It takes members of the groups that have been repeatedly targeted and mistreated under the Trump administration, and it paints them in a warm, compassionate light; reminding the world that these people are far more than what Republicans make them out to be and that, above all, they are human beings and should be treated as such. The film revolves around the life of Zaynab, a successful Muslim lawyer, who also happens to be both a lesbian and an occasional Mexican wrestler. She serves as a caretaker for her traditional, Pakistani mother and it is this, the relationship with her mother, that so often limits her life. As a result, Zaynab spends much of her time attempting to navigate a path that caters to both her desires and her mother’s happiness. It is only when she chances upon Alma, a Mexican-American bookstore owner and quite possibly the most fascinating person alive, that she realises she cannot compromise her own identity for the sake of another. ‘Signature Move’ is a thoughtful, refreshingly light-hearted contemplation on the importance of engaging in one’s own wants, and on the balance that can be found between tradition and transgression. While those in power try to encourage us to help them spread their vitriol, films such as ‘Signature Move’ strive to show us that minorities deserve to have their stories told, and that, at the very least, they should be able to steer their own narratives.
By Hannah Ryan