Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alan Ball|
|Produced by||Alan Ball
Steven M. Rales
|Screenplay by||Alan Ball|
by Alicia Erian
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Cinematography||Newton Thomas Sigel|
|Edited by||Andy Keir|
|Distributed by||Warner Independent Pictures|
Towelhead (alternatively titled Nothing is Private) is a 2007 comedy-drama film written and directed by Alan Ball and based on Alicia Erian's novel of the same name. The film made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8, 2007 under the name Nothing is Private. The film, like the book, touches on issues of sexual awakening, privacy, and race.
Set in 1990 amidst the Kuwait War of 1990-91, Towelhead tells the coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Lebanese American girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil). She first lives with her mother in Syracuse, New York, but when her mother's live-in boyfriend helps Jasira shave her pubic hair, her mother sends Jasira to live with her old-fashioned and domineering Lebanese father Rifat (Peter Macdissi) in suburban Houston, Texas. Jasira is alienated from her father: he is strict, does not allow her to use tampons, and prefers spending time with his new girlfriend, Thena; yet she experiences a sexual awakening there, sparked in part by the adult magazines she finds when baby-sitting the next-door neighbor boy Zack Vuoso (Chase Ellison), son of Travis Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart). While Jasira is home alone one night, Mr. Vuoso comes over to retrieve one of his magazines and he ends up raping her. She befriends a classmate, Thomas Bradley (Eugene Jones), eventually becoming sexually active with him. Mr. Vuoso becomes jealous of Jasira's relationship with Thomas and, pretending he has to go to Iraq the next morning, he rapes Jasira again. When Rifat finds one of Mr. Vuoso's adult magazines at his house, he beats Jasira, and she seeks refuge at the home of Melina (Toni Collette) and her husband, Gil, neighbors that were aware of Mr. Vuoso's inappropriate behavior from the beginning. Eventually, Jasira reveals that she was raped by Mr. Vuoso, and he is arrested.
- Aaron Eckhart as Travis Vuoso
- Toni Collette as Melina
- Maria Bello as Gail Monahan
- Peter Macdissi as Rifat Maroun
- Summer Bishil as Jasira Maroun
- Matt Letscher as Gil Hines
- Chase Ellison as Zack Vuoso
- Carrie Preston as Mrs. Vuoso
- Lynn Collins as Thena
- Shari Headley as Mrs. Bradley
- Irina Voronina as "Snow Queen" Centerfold
- Randy Goodwin as Mr. Bradley
Towelhead received mixed reviews from critics; Rotten Tomatoes reports that 48% of critics have given the film a positive review, based on 114 reviews with an average rating of 5.3 out of 10 with the consensus that "This story of politics, race and sexual awakening has moments that pack a punch, but overall, Towelhead never quite achieves the nuance of helmer Alan Ball's television work." The film also holds a score of 57 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 31 reviews.
- "Towelhead Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- "Towelhead (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-06-26.