So here is the novel by Shamim Sarif. Please admire the picture I took.
"I Can't Think Straight" is about Tala, a Palestinian woman living in London who is engaged for the fourth time. She's also a closet lesbian. Hey, I wouldn't marry those three other dudes, either. Leyla is a British Indian lass who also lives in London. And she just so happens to be dating Tala's best friend, Ali. She's an in-the-closet lesbian, too. They meet, sparks fly, they bump uglies, then they separate because Tala insists she can't hurt her fiancee, and coming out to her family is a no-no because people just wouldn't understand it where she's from. Alright, fair enough.
I wanted this to be better, I really did. Unfortunately, Shamim Sarif manages to write a fairly shallow novel. She falls on the cliches that you'd hope she would have avoided. There's nothing original or gripping here, and the romance isn't fleshed-out enough to truly believe it. Okay, so I get the attraction. They're both attractive women, and their personalities must be compatible, but...it's not enough. As a reader, I didn't feel that these two were crazy about each other. It's also very simply written, unless some of the attentions to detail can be appreciated, but eh. I'm not a fan of long paragraphs describing the way sunlight enters a room or how romantic the decor of the bedroom is.
In the end, this is a dime-a-dozen story.
My grade: C+
So how is the movie? Well...
Not much better, unfortunately. A mediocre book churns out a mediocre movie, but I think it's a tad better than the book, and at least the cast is attractive, if not a bit too white. Take the actress on the left. She's Indian/Polish. One of the actresses playing one of her sisters could pass as a white girl, even though she's not in real life. Anyway, I digress.
This smells like a TV movie, if I'm going to be honest. It's just so maddeningly average! The story never picks up, and again, there's that lack of believing in these two. You want to believe they're in love, but there's not enough chemistry, and the story is too boring to support them. Nothing interesting happens. Seriously. It's a movie filled with cliches, just like the book. The cast is alright, and Tala's and Leyla's younger sisters are more fun to watch than they are. The acting isn't generally that good, though. Not awful, but sub-par.
Oh, and the director, who is also the author, just couldn't resist making a cameo. Now, this doesn't always bother me, but I do tend to think that it's lame. And if you must have a cameo, at least have the decency to forego dialogue! You should be wallpaper in the background (unless you're a vitally talented actress), and you shouldn't be a distraction. When Shamim came on, I was distracted. Like, what's the director doing here? Do we need to see her? Is she that vain? It just appears ridiculous to me.
Okay, rant over.
I should point out that the cinematography is good. There are some beautiful shots here, and the settings are lovely.
Neither the book nor the movie are horrible by any means, but they don't rise above mediocrity. Still, the novel is a quick read, and it's short, so it doesn't drag, and the movie isn't a painful watch, just a fairly dull one.
My grade: C+