Towelhead

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Towelhead

Release Date: Sept. 12
Director/Writer: Alan Ball (based on novel by Alicia Erian)
Cinematographer: Newton Thomas Sigel
Starring: Summer Bishil, Aaron Eckhart, ?Peter Macdissi, Toni Collette
Studio/Run Time: ?Warner Independent ?Pictures, 124 mins.

Awkward directorial debut from
American Beauty writer

Screenwriter Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) is no stranger to daring stories, but in his awkward film directorial debut he seems unable to capture the soul of Alicia Erian’s novel—and with a story like this, that’s disastrous. Towelhead is about a 13-year-old girl with a father from Lebanon and a mother from the U.S. living with her divorced dad in Texas during the first Gulf War. She walks daily through a minefield of over-protective parenting, predatory male neighbors and aggressive boyfriends. The film isn't visually explicit—young-looking actress Summer Bishil was 19 when it was shot—but Ball includes all of the uncomfortable sexual situations from Erian’s novel and boldly uses the same racial epithet for a title. What he omits, however, is the mental rationale, the view into a child’s mind—not because he’s simplified the story, but because he seems unable to navigate the potentially salacious story with a cinematic finesse that equals Erian’s prose.

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