Towelhead

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Released 2008

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Movie Summary

Director:
Alan Ball
Released:
2008
Rating:
R
Towelhead, set against the backdrop of the first Gulf War, follows Jasira, a 13 year-old Arab-American girl encounters various sexual situations, as she moves from living with her ill-tempered American mother to live with her strict Lebanese father in Houston, who is actually anti-Saddam, despite how he is perceived amongst his neighbors. Jasira's life becomes more tumultuous as she begins a sexual relationship with the racist father of the boy she baby-sits and an overly sexual African-American schoolmate. Her lack of knowledge of normality growing up in a dysfunctional family prevents her from understanding the abuse she is experiencing at first, until she slowly begins to grow up and realize what is occurring during a turbulent time in American society.

Metacritic Score

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    A crude but scathing portrait of suburban life.

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times

    On the upside, newcomer Summer Bishil turns in a gutsy, quietly riveting performance as Jasira.

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Towelhead is transgressive without being effectively subversive, gutsy to no particular end. It simply lacks style, which counts for so much in this sort of thing.

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Dark Comedy, Social Issues, Independent