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 »
Although the movie was set in 1990-91 (as the story starts before the Gulf War and concludes soon after the war ends), the microwave in the father's house looked current, the airport looked really modern, the nudie mags didn't look that old, and most of the clothes throughout the film looked wrong for the era. 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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"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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