Against the backdrop of the first Gulf War, Jasira Maroun is 13, physically well developed but naïve and unable to say no. As puberty arrives, her mother sends her from Syracuse to Houston to her curt, up-tight, Lebanese-born father. Over the next few months, Jasira must navigate her father's strict indifference, her discovery of sexual pleasure, the casual racism of a neighbor boy and her classmates, the sexual advances of the boy's father, the proffered friendship of a pregnant neighbor, and her attraction to Thomas, an African-American classmate whom her father forbids her to see. Things happen to her, but can she take responsibility and control, or is tragedy inevitable? Written by
Actress Summer Bishil turned 18 before filming started, allowing her to play the 13 year old, sexually overactive Jasira without any restrictions as to what she could do or show in the movie. See more »
When Jasira is talking to her mother on the payphone when her father has locked her out, there is a "We Card" sticker visible in the convenience store window. The "We Card" tobacco program was not started until 1995, several years after the movie takes place. See more »
You're beautiful just the way you are, Jasira. Those other girls are just jealous because you're growing up faster than they are. And you're prettier than they are. Listen, don't let it get you down. Stupid names they're calling you. This year - just gimme a second
[wets the razor]
this year, your gonna shut them up. Only, probably you shouldn't tell your mom about this.
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Alan Ball steps on familiar yet virgin territory in more ways than one.An American suburb with the look and feel of a populated desert. American flags and neighboring spirits. Summer Bishil surfs uncannily the waves of her puberty. Innocence and awareness. Curiosity, excitement and fear. She has extraordinary moments as her father played by a superb Peter MacDissi marks and signs his territory with ancestral laws and American longings. A terrifying living contradiction. This time bomb of a man is the most realistic caricature I've ever seen. Played for real with frightening earnestness. There is also Aaron Eckhart who proves, once more, he's one of the most fearless actors around. His performance is as brilliant as it is uncomfortable to watch. I recommend it if you're in the mood for a couple of hours of gasps and nervous laughter.
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