Critic Reviews



Based on 31 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Racism, teen sex, and war are all hot button issues. When you are a young person these things can seem new and confusing. In Alan Ball’s genius Towelhead, all of those above mentioned subjects go hand-in-hand in a truly wonderful cinematic experience.
The Hollywood Reporter
Alternately disturbing, laceratingly satirical and affectingly poignant, the film, which he adapted from the novel, Towelhead, by Alicia Erian, is very much a companion piece to the Ball-penned "American Beauty" in its unwavering examination of the dirty little secrets and raging hypocrisies lurking just beyond all those manicured suburban lawns.
Ball may not have the answers but he eloquently and forcefully explores some of the potential ramifications. The ending may be too pat, but the journey to get there - bitter, spicy, and poignant - more than compensates for any last-minute fumbles.
As it becomes clear that Ball, in essence, has just restaged American Beauty with a socially conscious paint job, the sensationalism of Towelhead looks more and more like a dramatic tic.
The heart of the movie is really in Jasira's moments with her father, a mass of contradictions that Macdissi plays with comic ferocity and genuine feeling.
The film is superbly acted (especially by Macdissi, who makes the father a borderline hysteric), but it's hard to know what to feel except, "How can any girl navigate this oversexualized culture?"
This third-act redemption raises Towelhead several notches, but it still ends up feeling like a well-acted and well-intentioned after-school special, a long way from the vividness and texture of Ball's television work.
The performances are nicely calibrated, even when the director isn't meshing them into a persuasive whole. Summer Bishil makes Jasira an appealing naif -- smart, precocious and curious, if too easily led by hormones.
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.
Village Voice
Ball, who can't conceive of human motives beyond the hypertrophic, smutty sexuality that's his stock in trade, primly divides his characters into avatars of Sick Repression or Healthy Liberation.

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