×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Towelhead
  • Alternative view 1 of Towelhead
  • Alternative view 2 of Towelhead
     

Towelhead

3.0 4
Director: Alan Ball, Summer Bishil, Peter Macdissi, Aaron Eckhart

Cast: Alan Ball, Summer Bishil, Peter Macdissi, Aaron Eckhart

 
Six Feet Under creator and American Beauty screenwriter Alan Ball makes his feature directorial debut with this screen adaptation of author Alicia Erian's controversial novel Towelhead. Jasira (Summer Bishil) is a 13-year-old Arab-American who's contending

Overview

Six Feet Under creator and American Beauty screenwriter Alan Ball makes his feature directorial debut with this screen adaptation of author Alicia Erian's controversial novel Towelhead. Jasira (Summer Bishil) is a 13-year-old Arab-American who's contending with the pains of adolescence when her life takes a sudden and unexpected turn. Sent to live with her stern Lebanese father, Rifat (Peter Macdissi), by her self-absorbed mother (Maria Bello), Jasira finds herself struggling to adjust to life in the suburbs while contending with racism and hypocrisy at every turn. Rifat lives in a modest, suburban Houston home next to racist reservist Mr. Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart) and meddling expectant mother Melina (Toni Collette). Adjusting to life in the suburbs isn't easy for young Jasira, though she tries her hardest to adapt to the unfamiliar environment by striking up casual conversations with her curious new neighbors. In the process, Jasira finds herself increasingly attracted to hormone-driven African-American teen Thomas (Eugene Jones). When Rifat finds out that his daughter's new boyfriend is black, he vehemently condemns the relationship. As America launches its initial invasion of Iraq, Jasira finds herself caught up in a potentially explosive situation that is only compounded by her raging hormones and the snooping of her pregnant, busybody neighbor.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Joe Viglione
Calling this motion picture Towelhead makes the filmgoer blink for a second, as the original title, Nothing Is Private, is a bit less leading and more descriptive. Director Alan Ball creates an immediately uncomfortable setting when a young girl is sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend, betrayed by her mom, and shipped off to her frighteningly overbearing father. The central theme is the dysfunction of everyone around the 13-year-old protagonist, Jasira (played by 18-year-old actress Summer Bishil), and how the perpetual victim of circumstance has to find a survival mechanism while surrounded by huge amounts of chaos. The deck is stacked heavily against the adolescent, with the smears and epithets she endures from classmates as painful as the other types of abuse -- verbal, physical, and sexual -- she is subjected to from almost everyone around her in a variety of different ways. Toni Collette is again brilliant, this time as pseudo-hippie wife Melina; she and her husband appear to be the only two people who have a clue about morality in young Jasira's truly grim reality. Watching Aaron Eckhart's character crumble is equally upsetting, the film a finely threaded series of harrowing events which force heavy guilt upon the adults over their selfish and highly questionable choices. Jasira's emergence from victim to young lady is a powerful antidote to the repeatedly unsettling predicaments director Ball puts the viewer through. The film is thought-provoking and sharp, with fine acting throughout, but it isn't easy, as this cerebral essay is not about entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/30/2008
UPC:
0883929047505
Original Release:
2007
Rating:
R
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:56:00

Special Features

Towelhead: A Community Discussion - Director/ Screenwriter Alan Ball hosts 2 Insightful Panels on issues the film raises, one including Co-Stars Summer Bishil and Peter Macdissi, the other including the Novel's original author Alicia Erian

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Summer Bishil Jasira
Peter Macdissi Rifat
Aaron Eckhart Mr. Vuoso
Toni Collette Melina
Maria Bello Gail
Eugene Jones Thomas
Chase Ellison Zack

Technical Credits
Alan Ball Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Anne Carey Executive Producer
James Chinlund Production Designer
Daniel Glicker Costumes/Costume Designer
Marlena Grzaslewicz Sound/Sound Designer
Ted Hope Producer
Andy Keir Editor
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Peggy Rajski Executive Producer
Steven Rales Producer
Scott Rudin Executive Producer
Newton Thomas Sigel Cinematographer
Ira Spiegel Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Towelhead
1. For Your Own Good [2:54]
2. Not in Syracuse Anymore [3:09]
3. Too Weird Neighbors [3:35]
4. Situation Heavy [5:17]
5. Stuff for Men [5:04]
6. Putting Ideas in her head [6:09]
7. Shared Letter [3:34]
8. Intimate Encounter [4:43]
9. Where's the Check? [1:59]
10. You Can If You Want [5:15]
11. Getting Shaved [3:05]
12. Apology Not Accepted [1:30]
13. Out With His Girlfriend [4:30]
14. Not a Bad Man [2:46]
15. Holiday Visitor [3:56]
16. Idiotic Christmas [2:16]
17. War Reporting [1:36]
18. Not-Quite Interview [1:54]
19. Fouler Mind [3:47]
20. Feel Like a Woman? [2:36]
21. Letting the Cat Out [2:58]
22. You Know What You Do [2:19]
23. Glamour Photos [7:02]
24. Sanctuary at the Hineses [2:40]
25. What's Private and Not [4:06]
26. Good to See You Again [2:44]
27. Where I Lost It [5:24]
28. Thought I Was Supposed To [4:35]
29. Good Girl [4:11]
30. End Credits [4:21]

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Towelhead 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
TOWELHEAD may have been the successful title of the novel by Alicia Erian on which this daring movie was based, but it seems that the title could have been altered to focus on the real issues writer/director Alan Ball addresses. The audience for a film based on variations of child abuse and racism and prejudice and dismembered parenting and the physical coming of age of our youth may be small, but for those who had the courage to view TOWELHEAD either in the theater release or on DVD, the rewards are plentiful.

13-year-old Jasira (Summer Bashil in an impressive debut) lives with her mother Gail (Maria Bello) and the live-in boyfriend Barry (Chris Messina) until an inappropriate physical advance results in Gail's denial and Jasira is sent to Texas to live with her Lebanese American Christian father Rifat (Peter Macdissi) just as Bush's preemptive Iraq War is opening. Transported to a strange world Jasira suffers the prejudices of her holier-than-thou father and in addition to school is forced to get a job babysitting - with the next-door son Zack (Chase Ellison) whose parents are redneck bigots Evelyn (Carrie Preston) and Travis Vuoso. At the Vuoso's home Jasira discovers Travis' girlie magazines shared by Zack, and Jasira's burgeoning sexuality emerges. Both at Zack's house and at school Jasira is treated as an outsider (she is half Arab half American) and endures verbal abuse from everyone - the only exception is a young African American student Thomas (Eugene Jones) who pays attention to her as a beautiful, physically mature young woman. Jasira's need to be loved and to belong leads her into situations that cross borders of proper behavior - both with Thomas and with the predator Travis. Incidents occur as Jasira learns about physical relationships and the only caring deterrent adult is the very pregnant neighbor Melina (Toni Collette) who with her husband Gil (Matt Letscher) attempt to protect Jasira from abuse. How Jasira copes with her inept parents, the cloud of prejudice, and her approach/avoidance feelings about her sexuality forms the conclusion of the story.

Yes, the subject is tough, and yes, there are moments when better writing and better direction could have delineated character development and the presentation of the pertinent incidents could have made the movie more thoroughly acceptable, but given the concept of the film, the actors are each strong enough to make their characters credible. Bashil, Eckhart, Colette, Macdissi, Jones, and Bello are superb as is the supporting cast. This film may take a few years to cool off before it is more widely accepted. It deserves a wider audience who will be willing to face issues the film presents. Grady Harp
sugargirl84 More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie and I found it very disgusting. This poor girl is molested and taken advantage of and no one is there to help her until the end. I was very uncomfortable watching this film and would not reccomend it to anyone.
AsiaSquawkBoxFan More than 1 year ago
This film explores the warped sexuality of a repressed Arab-American girl in her teens, which leads to molestation. I am not sure if it was intended as a melodrama or a dark, dark comedy, but the films message was so confusing that I had to turn it off. I will recommend movies to help you wash the filth off.