This controversial movie is based on the novel of the same name by
an Arab-American journalist, Alicia Erian with the moving being directed by Alan
Ball (American Beauty and Six Feet Under) that uncovers a plethora
of norms, taboos and misconceptions of society.
elements of sexuality and racism between two cultures, Towelhead
revolves around thirteen year old Jasira (Summer Bishill) who is
sent to live at her father's home Rifat (Peter Macdissi) after her
catches their young live-in boyfriend shaving Jasira's thigh hair.
Jasira's life begins to crumble at her culturally inappropriate
father who exploits his new girlfriend and chastises his own
daughter for not living up to their heritage. One scene in the movie
that is quite emotional is that Jasira is forbidden to use tampons
due to her virginity which causes her undue distress as does the
racist taunts at her high school.
Eventually Jasira befriends a
black classmate that when her father finds out, he unleashes his
full temper on his young daughter. Jasira's only outlet is through
her neighbor Melina (Toni Collette) that almost creates a mother
The movie is quite depressing at times,
especially the scene with another neighbor who sexually assaults
her before being sent to Iraq for the American army as a soldier.
Although it is deemed a black comedy at times, the movie is a
horrible social commentary on the high emotions of America's current
war with Iraq and how it effects even the innocent among them.