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Against the backdrop of the first Gulf War, Jasira Maroun is 13, physically well developed but naïve and unable to say no. As puberty arrives, her mother sends her from Syracuse to Houston to her curt, up-tight, Lebanese-born father. Over the next few months, Jasira must navigate her father's strict indifference, her discovery of sexual pleasure, the casual racism of a neighbor boy and her classmates, the sexual advances of the boy's father, the proffered friendship of a pregnant neighbor, and her attraction to Thomas, an African-American classmate whom her father forbids her to see. Things happen to her, but can she take responsibility and control, or is tragedy inevitable? Written by
Actress Summer Bishil turned 18 before filming started, allowing her to play the 13 year old, sexually overactive Jasira without any restrictions as to what she could do or show in the movie. See more »
Melina tells Jasira that an adult having sex with someone under the age of 16 is considered statutory rape. In Texas, however, that age is 17. See more »
You're beautiful just the way you are, Jasira. Those other girls are just jealous because you're growing up faster than they are. And you're prettier than they are. Listen, don't let it get you down. Stupid names they're calling you. This year - just gimme a second
[wets the razor]
this year, your gonna shut them up. Only, probably you shouldn't tell your mom about this.
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This is one odd, disturbing, strange little movie that is as seductive as it is uncomfortable to watch. The ensemble cast is a standout but Summer Bishil absolutely steals this one by delivering an amazingly adult performance of an almost impossible role, and Peter Macdissi, as her father, is also excellent with a heavily nuanced complex character.
I'd also like to point out this movie has more WTF moments than anything I've seen in recent memory.
Another thing I was struck with is just how commonplace, how "normal" the events in this girl's life appear, and that is even more disturbing.
I'd like to close by saying this movie will not be enjoyed by everyone, nor will it be understood by everyone. This is a major piece of film-making and a major piece of storytelling, though, and if you don't mind extremes, definitely give this one a try.
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