Frenship blossoms into romance
A fetching feminine friendship turned softly sexual was displayed this past Saturday during the Rainbow Center's weekly Rainbow Cinema presentation. This week's film was, "I Can't Think Straight," a 2008 film dealing with a friendship between two young women that slowly develops into something more than either ever considered.
The film stars Lisa Ray as Tala, an upper class Palestinian woman who is engaged (for the fourth time) to a young Jordanian man. Sheetal Sheth plays Leyla, a young British-Indian woman and aspiring writer living under the roof of her strictly conservative mother. It is made quickly apparent that both girls yearn to escape from the tight clutches of their respective mothers. Tala's mother, vain, obsessed with familial appearances and highly anti-semitic, frequently clashes with her daughter's a-religious and pro-humanitarian viewpoints. Leyla feels constantly pressured by her mother to get married and start a family, something that Leyla is very hesitant to do, wanting to make a life for herself first.
Leyla's boyfriend, Ali, is a childhood friend of Tala, and it is through him that the two girls meet in London, where Tala lives and works. Quickly they strike up a friendship, despite disagreements over religion, race and culture. Tala brings Leyla to various events around England that Leyla would not attend otherwise, including polo matches and ceremonies at Oxford. It is during the trip to Oxford that the two women realize their feelings for each other go much deeper than friendship. The two strike up an affair.
While Leyla, who quickly ends her relationship with Ali, is eager to pursue a relationship, Tala is not so sure. She is initially unwilling to break off the wedding and disappoint her parents once again. It is because of this that she ends their budding relationship and temporarily goes back to Jordan to get married.
But all is not lost for poor Tala and Leyla. On the very day of her wedding, Tala realizes that nothing is more important than true love, so she breaks off her engagement once again before traveling home to be with the girl she loves.
Overall, "I Can't Think Straight" was a fantastic film that I felt really helped to highlight issues that LGBTQ teens face from a different cultural perspective than those that we're usually used to seeing. So many films focus on white teens living in a western culture dealing with these issues, rather than adults like Leyla and Tala, both of whom are used as a fusion of eastern and western cultures.
Jay Beaulieu, an employee of the Rainbow Center and second semester molecular and cell biology major agreed with this idea.
"The film was great, and it felt like a real break from typical LGBT films, which are usually very white-centric," Beaulieu said. "The blend of religious and personal beliefs was also quite interesting, especially the frequent references to the anti-Semitism of Tala's family."
Though there is no film next week, due to spring break, films will resume on Saturday, March 29, at 2 p.m. with the film, "Possible Loves."
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