Sandra Itäinen and Eman Abdelhadi’s documentary “Coming Around” displays the pain and beauty of generational change and intersectionality for a Muslim gay woman.

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“Coming Around” General Information

Director(s) Sandra Itäinen
Screenplay By Sandra Itäinen
Based On N/A
Date Released (Film Festival – NewFest Online) October 12, 2023
Genre(s) LGBT+


Film Length 1 Hour, 15  Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Eman Abdelhadi as Herself
Fatten Elkomy as Herself

Content Rating Explanation

“Coming Around” is currently not rated, but features mild profanity. 

Film Summary

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Sandra Itäinen’s documentary “Coming Around” features a glimpse of Eman Abdelhadi’s life as a Muslim and queer woman, but the small, intimate film becomes a spotlight for people in Eman’s position. 

Eman Abdelhadi is out as a gay woman but is still navigating her relationship with her faith and her mom. Eman’s mom, Fatten Elkomy, does not know her daughter is gay. Elkomy is a psychiatrist and follows a more traditional version of Islam than Abdelhadi. The mother and daughter have clear love for each other, but they argue over religion, traditions, and feminism today. Abdelhadi struggles with how and when to tell her mom that she is gay and goes as far as marrying a man to keep her mom from questioning. 

Director Itäinen and Abdelhadi understand that Abdelhadi’s struggle and identity are in the minority, making them rare for the public to fully see or comprehend. But this is what makes “Coming Around” a riveting and soulful documentary. Abdelhadi has been living as a minority her whole life, but she fears losing the community that has made her feel safe during a dangerous time in the United States. What happens when you risk losing the safety of those who’ve made you feel safe for so long? “Coming Around” explores identity, community, and a relationship between a mother and daughter that becomes a universal hug to embrace your true self. 


Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Coming Around 1


A Spotlight on Muslim/Queer Intersectionality 

Eman Abdelhadi opens herself up in “Coming Around” with immense courage and vulnerability. Despite some arguing that she cannot be Muslim and gay because the values contradict each other, her very existence becomes a political statement for feminism, queerness, and faith. This intersection of gender, sexuality, and religion puts Abdelhadi in a rare and isolating position, but Itäinen and Abdelhadi make this documentary in hopes of conveying that feeling for someone else out there in a rare and isolating position too.

A Beautiful and Complicated Portrayal of Motherhood and Daughterhood

Coming Around 2

The core of “Coming Around” details the conflict and love between Eman Abdelhadi and Fatten Elkomy. The two may argue passionately about faith and a woman’s role; the mother may be uncomfortable with her daughter’s play, but she’s always there to support her. The tears that streak Elkomy’s cheeks at the end may make viewers do the same. We may never fully comprehend what their relationship is like, but we know or long for that feeling to be seen and loved.

Who Is This For?

People who might want to learn or understand more about different identities, people who enjoy mother-daughter stories, and people who enjoy LGBTQ+ stories might like “Coming Around.”


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Coming Around
Coming Around (2023) – Review and Summary
“Coming Around” a riveting and soulful documentary that explores identity, community, and a relationship between a mother and daughter that becomes a universal hug to embrace your true self. 
A Spotlight on Muslim/Queer Intersectionality 
A Beautiful and Complicated Portrayal of Motherhood and Daughterhood

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