What happens when you fill a theater in the UMMA with friends and members of the LGBTQA family? Advertise that it’s free and that there’s free food? Of course we have a blast! Any event like this is sure to leave everyone with smiles on their faces. “I Can’t Think Straight” proved to fulfill all expectations. Tonight a bunch of my Commission friends and I, along with so many other people, filled the Helmut Stern Auditorium at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) to watch the film directed by Shamim Sarif.
The film was labeled a “Romantic Comedy,” but oh it was so much more. The characters and the jokes were so well written that we were laughing constantly. Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth portrayed two Jordanian girls of Palestinian origin, one raised in Jordan, the other in London. Both must go through the process of learning about their own sexualities and coming out to their parents, a very common theme in the gay film industry, but this movie still made it seem original and close to heart.
One of the most common and best delivered themes in this movie was that of cultural diversity and identity. It was interesting to see how having roots in a culture as diverse as the middle east affected the daughter who was raised in London and then to contrast it with the daughter raised deep in the socialite culture of her country of origin. Combining this sense of cultural identity with religious views based on cultural norms and with sexual identities and how these cultures accept or don’t accept them was an amazing feat. The film gives us the journey that both take to find themselves and each other and does it while giving us great laughs, excellent back stories, wonderful acting, and of course attractive sex scenes (well, at least for people who like those kinds of sex scenes).
This theater, located in the basement of UMMA, is a nice little presentation room that was a very comfortable place to watch this, or any, film. YKB, or Yoni Ki Baat multicultural women’s organization, hosted this event due to interests from members of the group. There was supposed to be a Q&A section after the show with women’s studies prof Sri Nair, but unfortunately she was unable to make it. Good news, however, was that Lauren from the Spectrum Center filled the position and hosted an impromptu comment section. Basically the audience just made interesting observations and Lauren and the YKB member hosting the event responded in the appropriate manner.
This film opened a lot of new views for the world and consequently has won a slew of awards and LGBT Film festival honors. Most recently it has improved the Wednesday night of an audience at the University of Michigan. As our world progresses it will produce more works of art similar to this one, in which the LGBT theme is not the determining factor that makes the movie worth watching. This film was great for more than its significance in gay culture; it was a wonderful romantic comedy that just happened to have some lesbians in it.