7.0/10
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67 user 111 critic

Towelhead (2007)

Nothing Is Private (original title)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer

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ON DISC
A young Arab-American girl struggles with her sexual obsession, a bigoted Army reservist and her strict father during the Gulf War.

Director:

Alan Ball

Writers:

Alan Ball (written for the screen by), Alicia Erian (novel)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Summer Bishil ... Jasira Maroun
Chris Messina ... Barry
Maria Bello ... Gail Monahan
Peter Macdissi ... Rifat Maroun (as Peter MacDissi)
Gemmenne de la Peña ... Denise
Robert Baker ... Mr. Joffrey
Eamonn Roche Eamonn Roche ... School Photographer
Aaron Eckhart ... Travis Vuoso
Carrie Preston ... Evelyn Vuoso
Chase Ellison ... Zack Vuoso
Irina Voronina ... "Snow Queen" Centerfold
Cleo King ... Sales Clerk
Michael McShae Michael McShae ... Middle School Jerk
D.C. Cody ... Middle School Jerk
Soledad St. Hilaire ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Arabic | Spanish

Release Date:

26 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Alan Ball Project See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Melina tells Jasira that an adult having sex with someone under the age of 16 is considered statutory rape. In Texas, however, that age is 17. 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 (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Way Down Now
Written by Karl Wallinger (as Karl Edmond DeVere Wallinger)
Performed by World Party
Courtesy of Seaview Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Breaks stereotypes while remaining mostly realistic.
2 January 2009 | by dead47548See all my reviews

Towelhead's themes of racism, sexual development and the horrors that lie in the dark abyss of suburbia basically come down to one thing: stereotyping. The film goes through many different lives and stories, all through the eyes of 13-year old Jasira (played with great bravery and intelligence by Summer Bishil). Through her eyes we see how everyone around her is just stereotyped immediately by the people living in this world and even by the audience. The aggressive Arab-American, the ignorant redneck pedophile, the horny black teenager, the pregnant hippie, etc. All of these typical characters are alive in this world and while they do have some of the characteristics that you would expect from the stereotypes of the character, Alan Ball does a good job of making them more diverse, complex and simply human than you would expect.

There were some things I really liked and some that I really didn't like. It all felt kind of awkward to me, but I think that helped the themes of the story in a way. Either way, Aaron Eckhart gave a really fantastic performance. He uses that boyish charm and those unimaginably handsome looks to make a horrifically despicable character borderline likable until his final scenes. One of those performances where you know that he's only going to bring horrible things to the main character's life and he makes you so uneasy when he's in a room alone with her, but you can't take your eyes off of him. A truly fascinating performance. I really think he's one of the very best actors working today. Peter Macdissi and Summer Bishil were also great, just a little less-so than Eckhart.


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