Mustache is a heartwarming and funny coming-of-age story that, despite having a few issues, is quite enjoyable. Mustache debuted at SXSW 2023.
Mustache is a wonderfully touching film that depicts the life of a young, teenage Pakistani-American boy named Ilyas as he tries to navigate life first in an Islamic school and later in a public school. Atharva Verma stars as Ilyas and is a complete joy to watch on screen. He is funny, relatable, and quirky. He perfectly portrays everything a teenager is and is easily the film’s best part.
As we follow him through life, he struggles with girls, life, and, most importantly, his mustache. He has hit that age, but his parents will not allow him to shave. So instead, he must go to school with this mustache that most people seem to make fun of.
After being moved to public school, he concocts a plan with his friend, a girl, to convince his parents to send him back to Islamic school. The thing is, he doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. In public school, he discovers acting and even attends a drama class during his free period. He meets a girl and starts to feel like he fits in.
The story is a very relatable one. None of us feel comfortable in our skin, especially at Ilyas’ age. Life is never fair as a teenager. There is no denying that. Verma can relate to his character, as he gives his heart and soul in this role. He makes Mustache a special movie. He is hilarious and fun. At times he will have viewers cracking up, at others wanting to hug him.
The biggest issue with this movie is that the rest of the cast feels underused. Besides some touching and powerful moments with his father, the story around him falls flat. Luckily, he delivers a solid performance that will touch audiences. It is impossible not to root for Ilyas. We can all see a bit of ourselves in him.
Mustache is an enjoyable coming-of-age tale that will leave viewers smiling. It has its ups and downs, and we wish that the script gave a little bit more of a story to the supporting characters, however, you will fall in love with Ilyas.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis: It’s the mid-90’s in Northern California and 13-year-old Pakistani-American Ilyas is facing a major crisis — his parents yanked him out of his comfortable Islamic private school and now he has to face life at public school.
Ilyas’ fears about joining public school are made worse by insecurities due to his inescapable, prepubescent MUSTACHE. Ilyas hatches a hilarious plan to return to his old school — but he must also learn to accept himself.
You Might Also Enjoy...
Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.