USA Today - 09/12/2008
"Newcomer Summer Bishil does a fine job as teenage Jasira..."
Alan Ball, who won an Oscar for his AMERICAN BEAUTY screenplay and an Emmy for the hit cable series SIX FEET UNDER, which he created, makes his feature-film directorial debut with the controversial TOWELHEAD. Set around the time of the first Gulf war, TOWELHEAD examines a young girl's sexual awakening in an extremely dysfunctional family--and community. Summer Bishil stars as Jasira, a 13-year-old girl being shuttled between her mother's (Maria Bello as Gail) home in Syracuse and her father's (Peter Macdissi as Rifat) in a suburban Houston cul-de-sac. Rifat, a Lebanese American, is overprotective of his daughter, who makes extra money by baby-sitting for neighbor Zack (Chase Ellison). But when Zack's father, Travis (Aaron Eckhart), a National Guardsmen waiting to be called to serve in Iraq, begins taking an unhealthy interest in Jasira, another neighbor, Melina (Toni Collette), becomes suspicious and befriends Jasira, who is suddenly trapped in a grown-up world she might not understand as well as she might think.
Bishil, who was 18 at the time the film was shot, is excellent as Jasira, playing the complex character with both charm and trepidation; her scenes with Macdissi (a SIX FEET UNDER veteran) and Eckhart are filled with different kinds of tension that never let up. Ball's script, based on the novel by Alicia Erian, takes on racism, bigotry, underage sex, patriotism, suburbia, adolescence, terrorism, first love, and, most of all, the meaning of family in an ever-changing world. The soundtrack consists of a slew of hits by such bands as Faith No More, Fine Young Cannibals, R.E.M., the Gregg Allman Band, INXS, Tom Tom Club, the Sundays, World Party, and Edie Brickell and New Bohemians.
Based On A Novel |
Coming Of Age |
Theatrical Release |