Towelhead (2008)

Genre(s): Drama
Warner Brothers || R - 124 minutes - $27.98 || December 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-01-22


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Alan Ball
Writer(s): Alicia Erian (novel); Alan Ball (screenplay)
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Summer Bishil, Toni Collette


Theatrical Release Date: September 26, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Towelhead: A Community Discussion


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

The last film by Alan Ball was the hit American Beauty and critics everywhere loved it. After that he went on to create "Six Feet Under", a wonderful show on HBO that lasted for 5 seasons. Soon after he came back with Towelhead (or Nothing is Private as some may know it as) and while I was not blown away with it like his previous two hits, it's still a decent film that brings back some feelings of American Beauty.

The film tells the story of 13 year old Jasira (Bishil), a young Arab-American who follows the strict guidelines of her mother and father (who have been divorced for years). While living with her mother, she takes up an offer from her motherís boyfriend to shave her private area...which leads to her mother dropping her off at her Father's home in hope he will straighten her out.

While there, she goes through numerous changes. She finds out what itís like to be treated like an outsider, having an older man (Eckhart) pine over her, getting her first boyfriend and having sex for the first time.

At times, this film can be very tough to watch. Not only is there some blatant remarks at stereotypes and racism; but we have to watch a very young (and talented!) actress essentially get raped on screen. While I did feel a but uneasy watching this take place, it was essential to the storyline and helped make her actions after that make a bit more sense.

As I already mentioned, Bishil is a talented young girl. She took the role and made it her own, blending into the mix of other talents actors in the film like Eckhart and MacDissi. I wasn't very impressed with the other females in the cast (Bello and Hines) but they are only in the film for brief moments.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Towelhead: A Community Discussion (82 Minutes) - This is an incredibly long discussion on how the film came to be, racial discussion, writing etc. To be honest, I was bored within the first fifteen minutes. It feels like a TV special that I would watch in 8th grade history class that the teacher taped off PBS and thought it would be a good way for him to grade papers and keep us quite.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Towelhead is presented in 2.35:1. I had issues with the first twenty or so minutes of the film - colors seem over saturated and often times I would see ghosting in the image (a scene with Jasira's mom's boyfriend is hideous). After that it cleaned up fairly well - colors became vibrant and grain toned down.

Warner has included a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Not much to say here since the film is nearly 100% dialog driven. Everything came across clean except a few times I had to adjust the volume up.



.::OVERALL::.

Towelhead is worth a rental, but I wouldn't recommend a purchase even if you are a hardcore Alan Ball fan. Itís a tough film to watch once, and I can't see much in terms of repeat value.