Towelhead – Good, Bad & Ugly Review


Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48% (Critics) 61% (Audience)
Directed By: Alan Ball
Written By: Alan Ball
Starring: Summer Bishil, Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette
Studio: Warner Independent

Synopsis: Towelhead is a pitch black comedy that follows several months in the life of Jasira, a 13-year old Arab-American girl, as she begins to blossom into womanhood. We are taken along for the ride as Jasira experiences the confusing and petrifying road to sexual awakening while under the ever watchful eye of her overly strict father and the lecherous eye of her unhappily married neighbor.

The story is unflinching and uncompromising which should be credited to Alan Ball (SIX FEET UNDER, AMERICAN BEAUTY, TRUE BLOOD), who wrote and directed this film. The performances are just as ballsy especially Summer Bishil as Jasira who carries this movie like an old pro despite this being her first film and Aaron Eckhart who somehow gets you to feel sympathy for a character that truly deserves none. His Travis Vuoso is one of the skeeviest dudes in modern cinema and he needs to be forced to wear the Pedobear Seal of Approval on his chest like Hester Prynne wore that scarlet letter “A”.

Toni Collette was very believable as the immensely pregnant neighbor who takes a liking to Jasira and becomes her fiercest protector. Also noteworthy are Maria Bello and Peter Macdissi as Jasira’s parents; you’ll be hard pressed to find a worse twosome when it comes to parenting in film.

The ending was a disappointment to me though. It came off as a bit too much like the ending of a very special episode of a TV sitcom. I was expecting so much more from a movie that had been almost fearless in the way it dealt with some really taboo subject matter. The ending should have been just as daring and uncompromising. I mean how can a movie have such a pedestrian ending after diving head first into unsettling sexual territory with almost no thought given to how it would be perceived by the movie going public? This film deserved much better.

Final Verdict: Towelhead is cringeworthy and will elicit so many very uncomfortable moments from the viewer but it is a good film that takes an uncompromising look at underage sex, bigotry, and the seedy underbelly of suburbia with humor pathos and top notch performances. B

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