Archive for the ‘ Romance ’ Category

Sabah

Sabah, 2005, Canada

By Jennifer Hanson

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On paper, this film sounded awesome. It’s a Canadian romantic comedy about a 40-something Muslim woman (Arsinée Khanjian) who meets a Canadian man named Stephen (Shawn Doyle), and they fall in love. However, their relationship must remain secret, as Sabah has an overbearing older brother named Majid (Jeff Seymour), and must care for her ailing mother (Setta Keshishian).

Unfortunately, “on paper” and “on film” are very different things. The film is very awkward, and I don’t necessarily blame the actors for the awkwardness. I just felt uncomfortable as I watched it. I think it’s because Sabah is a very awkward character, and the actions of so many of the characters felt unrealistic. The love story between Sabah and Stephen was sweet, but there was very little substance to it. The characterization of the supporting characters is limited, as well. Majid is written as the villain, but his actions are so drenched in stereotypes that it is actually offensive. For a film that is presumably supposed to fight stereotypes, it is not good to have a storyline that depends on a very offensive stereotype. We’re given no reason for these actions until the very end of the movie.

In addition to all of this, we’re given a deus ex machine happy ending that feels unnatural and tacked on. We’re never shown how the issues are resolved, other than an extremely brief scene prior to the ending. An extra few minutes would have removed the awkwardness of the ending. Every storyline is resolved in an overly happy, awkward and unnatural way, which is typical in romantic comedies. I was hoping Ruba Nadda would go in a different direction with her film.

Nadda is an Arab-Canadian director and writer, and many of her other films look at life in Arab families. Seeing “normal” Arab or Muslim families in film productions is relatively rare, so that is why I was so eager to watch this film. It is truly a shame that Nadda felt the need to create such a stereotypical character when she created Majid. I fear that his character may confirm the prejudices that some people feel towards Muslim individuals. However, I did admire the way she approached the topic of inter-racial and inter-religious relationships. I felt that the apprehension Sabah felt towards her relationship was an accurate portrayal of what someone may feel in her situation.

The film was obviously a low budget production, and it was shot in only 20 days. It was shot well and I also respect what she accomplished in such a short period of time.

Sabah was a bit of a disappointment. It was thought-provoking for all of the wrong reasons, and relied far too much on stereotypes and clichés. It’s such a shame, because this film had every opportunity to be fantastic.

2/5

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Mulligans

Mulligans, 2008, Canada

By Graeme Coleman

While surfing through Netflix’s “Gay & Lesbian” movie section, I found myself come to a halt on this movie for two reasons: 1) the men on the cover are gorgeous, and 2) the obvious question, what the hell are Mulligans? Well, the film doesn’t keep you guessing. Right off the bat, it states that a “mulligan, in golf, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action.”

Anyone who has gotten this far into the movie, and has read the blurb or seen the trailer, instantly knows that this movie is about a man who finds himself second-guessing his life decisions, and wonders if it is too late to come to terms with himself. What makes this plot so interesting is that this man, named Nathan (Dan Payne), has this sudden inner struggle when his son, Tyler (Derek Baynham), brings his best friend from college, Chase (Charlie David), to spend the Summer with their family. The fact that Chase and Nathan are both interested in each other is no secret to the story, so you are instantly left wondering how this awkward situation is going to play out.

Tyler is one of the most obnoxious and annoying characters I have ever witnessed. I almost don’t want to discuss him, that’s how much I dislike him – but I think it’s only fair to warn you of his over-the-top sleaziness and horrible acting. Chase and Nathan are the only two rational, like-able characters in the movie, so you spend a lot of time uncomfortably wanting them to be together, and wondering how the hell it’s going to work. The fact that Nathan’s wife, Stacey (Thea Gill), is so over-dramatic about everything, makes it hard for you to sympathize for her.

You can never really tell if the acting is that bad or if it’s just a really awkward moment – but I think it’s constantly a mix of both. Also, the soundtrack sounds like it was taken from the original 90210 series (which completely throws you off). But overall, the message of the story is extremely moving. There are so many people out there who live a lie because they are afraid to come to terms with their sexuality. So, essentially, you are left realizing that what happens in this movie can happen to many people out there. This fact alone makes this movie good, but with a bigger budget and better actors, it could have been phenomenal. Although, after doing a bit of research, I grew a lot of respect for the movie and it’s cast.

Charlie David, who plays Chase, actually wrote Mulligans. He’s been a host for many networks, some as big as E! Television, NBC, and most significantly (in this case), OutTV. In 2005 Out Magazine even recognized him in the ‘Out 100’. After digging around a bit more, I found out that he had something in common with all of his cast mates. All four of them are Canadian (Derek Baynham is even from Winnipeg!), and three of them made appearances on LGBT shows. Charlie David starred on LGBT horror series, Dante’s Cove. Thea Gill starred on Queer as Folk and also had a spot on Dante’s Cove. Lastly, Dan Payne appeared on The L Word.

I wouldn’t only recommend Mulligans to anyone who is part of, or interested in, the LGBT community, I would recommend this movie to everyone. It’s an eye-opener to a problem that tons of people struggle with in our society – people who you might even know.

3/5 stars