Based on Alicia Erian's novel, this coming-of-age tale follows the topsy-turvy life of Jasira (Summer Bishil), a 13-year-old Arab American girl wrestling with the challenges of adolescence, bigotry and life with an overbearing father. Directed and adapted for the big screen by Alan Ball (American Beauty), this darkly comic film set during the first Gulf War earned Bishil a Best Female Lead nod at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Rent DVDs for only $4.99 a month.
- Alan Ball
- This movie is
- 2009 Independent Spirit Awards®
- Best Female Lead nominee: Summer Bishil
RStrong disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1Subtitles
English, English SDH, French, Spanish (Neutral)Closed captioned
NoLanguage and sound
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1Other features
Color; interactive menus; scene access; featurette Towelhead: A Community Discussion hosted by director Alan Ball, with co-stars Summer Bishil and Peter Macdissi, and author Alicia Erian.
Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this disturbing movie is highly controversial by intent. The film's trailer sells it as a contemporary satire about an ethnically mixed culture, but the only humor comes from viewers' shock at seeing characters portrayed as ridiculously obtuse, cruel, and unaware. There are many scenes of intense psychological and sexual abuse. The victim is a 13-year-old girl who's dealing with her own budding sexual urges; throughout the film, she's at the mercy of predatory adults, dysfunctional parents, and race-baiting teens and kids. Scenes of masturbation, statutory rape, intercourse, and bare-breasted fantasies alternate with scenes of racial name-calling, dishonesty, jealousy, and heartlessness. In other words? Not for kids.
- Sexual Content
- Frequent sexual scenes that include bare-breasted women (in a magazine and in a sexual fantasy), a teen boy and girl having intercourse, sounds of an adult couple having sex, an adult male seducing and sexually assaulting 13-year-old, a teen boy and an adult male preparing to shave a young teen's pubic hair in two separate scenes, menstrual blood (including one scene of a bloody tampon), multiple scenes of teen masturbation (both off-camera and partially on-camera), and a teen girl being asked to strip for male pleasure on two occasions.
- A father loses his temper on two occasions -- he grabs, hits, spits, and uses his fists on a girl. A dead kitten on road, then seen in plastic bag and placed in freezer. Sexual assault against a teen girl.
- Used liberally throughout: "f--k," "bulls--t," "ass," "piss." Racial slurs (including the term used as the movie's title) as well.
- Social Behavior
- Racism (both subtle and overt) is seen from a variety of angles: toward Middle-Eastern people, toward African Americans. People who are themselves victims of bigotry reveal themselves to be bigoted. A Lebanese girl is called "towelhead," "camel jockey," "sand n----r." She learns to fight back and not allow such behavior. Adults continually act in inappropriate ways, exhibiting ignorance, self-involvement, cruelty, inept parenting, dishonesty, and sexual perversion.
- Not applicable.
- Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol
- Father gives taste of beer to young teen daughter; 13-year-old sneaks margarita and feels its effect; adult couple gets tipsy after wine with dinner.
- Age appropriate
- Not an issue
- Depends on your kid and your family
- Not appropriate for kids of the age most likely to want to see it