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Towelhead

Audience Review

Release Date

2008 (India)
11 Sep 2008 (WorldWide)

Towelhead Story

Towelhead tells the coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Lebanese American girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil). She first lives with her mother in Syracuse, New York, but when her mother's live-in boyfriend helps Jasira shave her pubic hair, the mother is concerned and sends Jasira to live with her old-fashioned and domineering Lebanese-Christian father Rifat (Peter Macdissi) in Houston, Texas.

Jasira begins to have sexual feelings; she likes the adult magazines she finds when baby-sitting the next-door neighbor boy Zach Vuoso (Chase Ellison). She has mixed feelings about Zach's father Mr. Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart) who puts his finger in her vagina against her will; he apologizes for breaking her hymen, he did not think she was still a virgin.

She prefers black classmate Thomas Bradley (Eugene Jones III) who is also sexually interested in her, but does not act without permission. Nevertheless she accepts when Mr. Vuoso, pretending he has to go to Iraq the next morning, requests to have more sex with her.

Jasira is alienated from her father: he is strict and does not allow her to use tampons; also he prefers spending time with his new girlfriend rather than with her. When her father beats Jasira afer finding out that she had an adult magazine, a female neighbor Melina (Toni Collette) offers Jasira her house as a refuge. Melina gives Jasira a sex education book, from which she learns that Mr. Vuoso's behavior was illegal.

Eventually she tells her father and the neighbors about having sex with Mr. Vuoso, and he is arrested for statutory rape. The film also deals with the racial attitudes of the people in Jasira's life: towards her and her father (she is called towelhead, although she does not even wear anything on her head), but also those of her father towards blacks.


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