I Can't Think Straight Shamim Sharif
Published Nov 20, 2008An entirely guileless, conflicting and expositional narrative mixed with some ham-fisted, archetypal characterizations and an overall amateur vision with dreadfully straightforward compositions, the woefully titled I Cant Think Straight presents an interesting template of homophobia and cultural intolerance within Arab and Indian communities but suffers from an eye-winking gracelessness that the title itself inadvertently implies.
Mirroiring storylines involving both Israeli and homosexual intolerance, through a means of forced assimilation and blind idealism, is certainly interesting on its own but may have proved more affecting on a cinematic level without the many unnatural and unnecessary explanations that plague an already convoluted chronicle.
Aside from these many competence-based issues, there is occasionally a campy fun to the film that most viewers of low budget, gay-themed cinema are likely used to, which may help warm this key demo up to its well-intentioned but highly flawed presentation.
Starting out with well-to-do Palestinian beauty Tala (Lisa Ray) again having nuptial doubts during her fourth hetero engagement and shifting to her meeting and flirtation with the more grounded and initially reserved Leyla (Sheetal Sheth), an Indian woman who questions her own engagement, I Cant Think Straight examines their star-crossed, Sapphic affections in a predictable manner.
While Leyla quickly jumps into the sisterhood of lesbian pants, Tala is hesitant, fearing familial disapproval and the inevitable lack of understanding from a single-sex world, which is an odd and not entirely convincing turn of events considering the dominant portrayal of Tala during their tennis-based introduction.
From weepy coming out scenes to broken engagements to cartoon-ish portrayals of discrimination, typified conflicts keep things moving forward until the inevitable conclusion.
While topical and certainly relevant, especially in the light of Californias recent hate legislation, it really is a shame that this story of forbidden love in an often-antiquated world is bogged down with such a fallible and inaccessible template. (Kinosmith)