7.0/10
10,722
64 user 111 critic

Towelhead (2007)

Nothing Is Private (original title)
A young Arab-American girl struggles with her sexual obsession, a bigoted Army reservist and her strict father during the Gulf War.

Director:

Writers:

(written for the screen by), (novel)

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ON DISC
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rifat Maroun (as Peter MacDissi)
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Denise
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Mr. Joffrey
Eamonn Roche ...
School Photographer
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Evelyn Vuoso
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Zack Vuoso
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"Snow Queen" Centerfold
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Sales Clerk
Michael McShae ...
Middle School Jerk
D.C. Cody ...
Middle School Jerk
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Janitor
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How can you find yourself if no one can see you? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

26 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Towelhead  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,823, 14 September 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$371,446, 17 October 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film, based on the book Towelhead by Alicia Erian, debuted at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival with the non-controversial title Nothing is Private. However, after consultation with Erian and Warner Brothers, the filmmakers decided to release the movie in the United States and other countries with the same title as the book, obviously an ethnic slur. The title was met with controversy and protests from the Arab-American community. Some complained about the slur itself, others accused Warner Brothers of choosing a buzz-generating controversial title that was misleading since the story centers more on Jasira's sexual behavior than her ethnicity. This and other topics are discussed on the DVD's two panel discussions. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Barry: 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]
Barry: this year, your gonna shut them up. Only, probably you shouldn't tell your mom about this.
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Connections

Features Married with Children (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Ciel de Paris
Music by Pierre Dudan
Lyrics by Pierre Dudan
Performed by Jean Sablon
Courtesy of DRG Records Incorporation
Under license from DRG Special Markets
By arrangement with DRG International Group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliantly Honest
19 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

"Towelhead" is an incredibly honest and sincere movie. It tells its story without pretense, without agenda, and without b.s.

Looking at the IMDb reviews and ratings, it appears that not everyone enjoys this movie. If you are made uncomfortable by the honest portrayal of adolescent sexuality, racism, sexism, bad parenting, sexual assault, and sexual predation, then you will not enjoy this movie.

If you are like myself and my wife, and you feel that dealing with the life of a young woman torn between cultures and divorced parents, objectified by a society that also rejects her, and as confused and eager and scared of her own sexuality as every young teen has ever been, then you feel this is one of the best films of the year.

But not everyone is going to be comfortable with honesty. I found it to be a wonderful breath of fresh air. Others will be made uncomfortable and will then make up reasons to dislike it. I even read a review by someone who somehow thought that the villain of the story, the clear, obvious villain, was the hero.


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