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
This film, based on the book Towelhead by Alicia Erian, debuted at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival with the non-controversial title Nothing is Private. However, after consultation with Erian and Warner Brothers, the filmmakers decided to release the movie in the United States and other countries with the same title as the book, obviously an ethnic slur. The title was met with controversy and protests from the Arab-American community. Some complained about the slur itself, others accused Warner Brothers of choosing a buzz-generating controversial title that was misleading since the story centers more on Jasira's sexual behavior than her ethnicity. This and other topics are discussed on the DVD's two panel discussions. See more »
Although the movie was set in 1990-91 (as the story starts before the Gulf War and concludes soon after the war ends), the microwave in the father's house looked current, the airport looked really modern, the nudie mags didn't look that old, and most of the clothes throughout the film looked wrong for the era. 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.
See more »
Alan Ball steps on familiar yet virgin territory in more ways than one.An American suburb with the look and feel of a populated desert. American flags and neighboring spirits. Summer Bishil surfs uncannily the waves of her puberty. Innocence and awareness. Curiosity, excitement and fear. She has extraordinary moments as her father played by a superb Peter MacDissi marks and signs his territory with ancestral laws and American longings. A terrifying living contradiction. This time bomb of a man is the most realistic caricature I've ever seen. Played for real with frightening earnestness. There is also Aaron Eckhart who proves, once more, he's one of the most fearless actors around. His performance is as brilliant as it is uncomfortable to watch. I recommend it if you're in the mood for a couple of hours of gasps and nervous laughter.
33 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?