Movie Review: “I Can’t Think Straight” – a sexy romance with a dash of political bite


Two gorgeous women from different religious and ethnic backgrounds find each other in this sensitive and beautiful film. I think the cinematography, set design, and music are excellent, and the evolving relationship quite believable. Be aware there are discreet woman-to-woman love scenes which are all handled deftly and with great tact.

The double-meaning of this foreign film’s title came to me a little late. I’m acquainted with several same-sex women (and men) who are married to each other or living in long-term relationships. However, the focus of this movie is somewhat unusual for general audiences.

There are also added political themes about Middle Eastern ethnic and religious divisions. These positions are expressed usually through the musings of an older female character. As an active senior woman, who accepts her own two children who practice different religions from me, I do feel somewhat chagrined. This is stereotyping -- because older women do not necessarily fit into these circumscribed cubbyholes. Even the juxtapositioning of world problems within a very personal romantic film is a bit jarring, but ultimately, I accept it.

I’m giving this movie a “B” on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card. The movie has received an MPAA rating of PG-13. The trailer and other information is here:

The movie opens on Friday, December 12, 2008 at Portland’s Hollywood Theater (Oregon) and is scheduled to play through Tuesday, December 23, 2008. Check out the map for a street location, as well as the film schedule of this historic Oregon theater. There's more information at this website.

Distribution is limited nationwide. Kindly check your local independent theaters for other bookings of the film “I Can’t Think Straight.”

Movie Synopsis:

Tala, a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian origin, prepares for an elaborate wedding with her Jordanian fiancé, when she encounters a timid Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend Ali.

Tala comes from a spirited Christian family, but Leyla’s strong Muslim upbringing could not be more different from each other but the attraction is immediate between both girls. Tala’s feisty nature provokes Leyla out of her shell and soon both women reveal their feelings for each other.

However, Tala is not ready to accept the implications of the choice her heart has made and escapes back to Jordan where her chain-smoking, high-brow mother finishes preparations for her ostentatious wedding. As family members descend and the wedding day approaches, simmering family tensions come to boiling point and the pressure mounts for Tala to be true to herself and she breaks off the wedding.

Meanwhile a heartbroken Leyla relishes her newly found sense of identity and self-respect and moves on with her new life – much to the shock of her parents.

Single again, Tala flies back to London – but it will take more than just a date set up by Ali and Leyla’s sister Zina to win Leyla back.

The international cast headed by Canadian actress Lisa Ray (Deepa Mehta’s Water – which garnered a Best Foreign Picture Academy Award® nomination in 2007). Her performance in Water also earned her the Best Actress Award from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.

Other cast includes: Sheetal Sheth (Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World), comedic actress Nina Wadia (Bend it Like Beckham, Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me) and Antonia Frering and Rez Kempton (The Mystic Masseur).