On the surface, Zaynab (Fawzi Mirza) is the perfect daughter. She supports her mother, Preveen (Shabana Azmi), who spends her free time watching Pakastani soap operas and peering through her binoculars looking for the perfect husband for Zaynab. This plan derails when Zaynab walks into a bar and meets Alma (Sari Sanchez), falling head over heels instantly. Combined with her secret wrestling lessons, luchadora style, Zaynab must juggle everything in search of her signature move.
With so much going on, Signature Move could have been a hot mess. There are not many filmmakers who could balance a wrestling focused romantic comedy about mother/daughter relationships, but director Jennifer Reeder is one of them. Signature Move boasts an offbeat sense of humour that’s not quite like anything you’ve seen before.
The film is concerned with performance and spectacle, drawing from the luchadora wrestling tradition as its point of reference. It also relies heavily on the tropes of the romantic comedy. However, at the film’s core is the relationship between mothers and daughters, which grounds the film in something more tangible. This could have upset the balance of the film, but it doesn’t. This is largely due to an incredible performance from Shabana Azmi. It’s an understated turn, the kind that rarely gets accolades, but without it, Signature Move becomes a silly little diversion. With it, it becomes an entertaining film of substance.