TOWELHEAD Add To My Top 10
Abhorrent Disgusting Pedophilia
Release Date: August 29, 2008
Genre: Dark Comedy
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 116 minutes
Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures
Director: Alan Ball
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Ted Hope and Alan Ball
Writer: Alan Ball
Address Comments To:Mark Gill, President
Warner Independent Pictures
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
Set during the first Gulf War, Lebanese Rifat is angry that because he’s from the Middle East there’s an assumption that he’s both Muslim and a supporter of Sadaam Hussein. In fact, he’s Catholic and is upset that America isn’t bombing Iraq more often.
He has a short fuse and imposes his own ideals on his daughter. Jasira is the brunt of slapping and hitting by him when he’s angered. As Jasira goes through puberty, she struggles, with no help from him to understand herself.
Jasira’s Marine reservist neighbor, Mr. Vuoso, gives Jasira a pornographic magazine and she learns to pleasure herself at home, recess and even in the classroom. Jasira sees the women in the magazine as being an ideal to which she aspires. Mr. Vuoso then molests her twice. Her new boyfriend, Thomas, shaves her private region, pleasures himself before her and has sexual relations with her three times. The only hope is a neighboring couple who give her a place of refuge when things start to crumble.
The final scene is Jasira helping her neighbor deliver a baby. The movie seems to suggest that Jasira learns all the things that a woman’s body is designed to do.
While this is supposed to be a dark comedy, there’s really no fun to be had in it. The molestation, sex, self-pleasuring, and pornography are all depicted and often graphic. It would be disgusting to watch an adult go through this, but reprehensible to see an underage 13-year-old girl encounter all of these things.
While one scene of pedophile molestation occurs offscreen, the first one is very intensely graphic. The three bedroom scenes of the teenage couple are equally graphic. There is much discussion of sex. It is difficult to watch this movie.
Racism and ethnicity is a theme throughout the movie. Jasira is called “towelhead” at school and in the neighborhood. Rifat doesn’t want Jasira to see her boyfriend because he’s black. Mr. Vuoso doesn’t like Rifat because he’s an Arab. Rifat doesn’t like Vuoso because he’s a “redneck.” A kind woman in the restroom helping out Jasira assumes that she’s Latin and is upset that she doesn’t speak Spanish. All this is set against the first Gulf War in the news and discussion of the Middle East.
Religion plays a small role. The molesting neighbor is assumed to be a Christian because he’s a conservative American, though obviously doesn’t behave like one. Rifat has a statue of Mary and crosses himself when praying, but he takes God’s name in vain and is having sexual relations with his girlfriend.
Jasira herself is the victim, though in the end says she wants to continue to have sexual relations with her boyfriend. She has become very mixed up about sex and her own identity.
Media-wise viewers should be completely outraged about this movie. Warner Bros. should be ashamed!
While this is supposed to be a dark comedy, there is nothing funny about it. The negative content is depicted and often graphic. It would be disgusting to watch an adult go through this, but reprehensible to see an underage 13-year-old girl encounter all of this. Media-wise viewers should be completely outraged about this movie.