out of Five
Running time: 80
This lesbian love story is never less than watchable, thanks to a captivating central performance by Lisa Ray, though the script and direction leave a lot to be desired.
What's it all about?
Written and directed by Shamim Sharif, from her own quasi-autobiographical novel, I Can't Think Straight stars Lisa Ray as Tala, a beautiful Jordanian businesswoman, who's been engaged four times and whose snobbish mother, Reema (Antonia Frering) is anxious for her imminent wedding to actually go ahead this time. However, when Tala meets aspiring author Leyla (Sheetal Sheth), a British Muslim, she's surprised at the strength of her feelings and their fast friendship quickly turns to love. However, their relationship brings all kinds of problems and both women face the question of whether to come out to their friends and families.
I Can't Think Straight has several points in its favour, the biggest of which is Ray's captivating performance as Tala. She also has strong chemistry with Sheth, which makes their seduction scene surprisingly sexy, despite the fact that it's directed in the most cliched way imaginable, all soft-focus close-ups and shots of hair tossing and lip biting. The film also earns points for trying to show us a relationship that we haven't seen on screen before, even if the heavily cliched script isn't quite up to the task.
The problem is that Sharif is too close to her own material, meaning that the writer's parents, for example, are painted sympathetically, instead of providing opportunity for meaningful dramatic conflict. In addition, the film has very little in the way of humour, unless you count EastEnders' Nina Wadia in a micro-part as Reema's put-upon housekeeper who keeps trying to spit in her misstress’ coffee.
The film is also guilty of horribly clunky scenes, such as when Leyla's sister stumbles upon k.d. lang CDs and a pile of lesbian literature in her sister's room and has an unintentionally laughable lightbulb moment.
This lesbian drama is clumsily staged and poorly written, but it remains watchable thanks to Ray's impressive performance.
I Can't Think Straight