Reserved Naz and outgoing Maalik have formally taken their friendship to the next level, though the religious teens have yet to declare their sexuality to family or friends. They make money by buying lottery tickets, oils and other small items from a local convenience store and hawking them on the streets for a profit. At the start of the day, an innocent encounter with an undercover cop selling guns catches the attention of a FBI agent. The outrageous unfairness of her harassment of them loops into the larger theme of Muslims in New York becoming accustomed to surveillance ever since 9/11. Anyway, ultimately towards the end of the day, the confusion is cleared with the FBI agent, who ultimately understands that they are just two teenagers who are trying to hide their love. The sub-plot of killing a live chicken to prepare hall food for Maalik’s mom goes awry, when an innocent man gets into an accident. The film ends with malice considering that he should come-out to his family and see what happens.
The rapport between the two boys is easy, sometimes tender. They discuss about all kinds of things including “last night”. They hide in alleys to kiss. Overall pretty normal teenager stuff. The intense focus on the two lead characters emerges as both a strength and a weakness. There’s a lot of walking and talking, and what begins as rather charming ultimately turns tedious and tiring. On a positive note, the bustling New York City sidewalk feels have been captured really well like, its energy, chaos, casual hum of activity. That made me miss New York even more. The 2 boys have acted quite natural. There is a friendly chemistry between them which is very obvious. They are always honest, and gentle with that honesty. When one talks, the other one listens, really listens.
The film does a good job of showing brewing teenage love between 2 boys who happen to be muslims, but somewhere it doesn’t do to much justice on the racial profiling that ha suddenly crept up all over US post 9/11. (6/10)