• R, 1 hr. 49 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Alan Ball
    In Theaters:
    Sep 8, 2007 Wide
    On DVD:
    Dec 30, 2008
  • Warner Independent
  • Towelhead
    2 minutes 4 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Towelhead Reviews

David Fear
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 2/5

November 17, 2011
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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As a director [Ball] amplifies the flaws in his own writing; his supporting characters are too broadly pitched to take seriously, and he tends to smack you in the face with the point of every scene.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 17, 2008
Jonathan F. Richards
Film.com
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There is hardly a scene that does not produce exquisite discomfort and a strong desire to be somewhere else.

Full Review Source: Film.com

December 11, 2008
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
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It wasn't enjoyable at any level.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

November 5, 2008
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
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This movie will challenge you on a number of levels, including some beliefs you'd never thought you'd question.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

November 5, 2008
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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It is certainly possible to make a transgressive movie about children in sexual jeopardy, and to do so in ways that realistically and intelligently depict the abuse while not revelling in it.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 1.5/4

October 24, 2008

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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October 18, 2008
Tasha Robinson
Chicago Tribune
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It's impossible to look away.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

October 18, 2008
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
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Summer Bishil turns in a gutsy, quietly riveting performance as Jasira.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

October 18, 2008
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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It's Ball's complex and frank approach to subject matter normally depicted in black-and-white terms that distinguishes Towelhead from so many coming-of-age dramas before it.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

September 26, 2008
Christy Lemire
Globe and Mail
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The performances make the material more human and accessible, mainly from the film's brave young star, Summer Bishil.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 26, 2008
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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It's too much, too heavy-handed. Disturbing is one thing. Prurient is another.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 25, 2008
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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The most deeply disturbing, downright discomfiting movie about teen sexuality since Thirteen.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

September 24, 2008
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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Towelhead needs more breathing room in order to allow the central relationships to grow, but it's a movie that sticks with you.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

September 19, 2008
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
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It is so disturbing it makes you uncomfortable watching it. For the price of admission, you become an unwilling voyeur.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 1/4

September 19, 2008
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Gripping, disturbing, powerful and likely outright offensive to many people, Towelhead is an often brutal study of clashing cultures, adolescent abandonment and sexual confusion.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

September 19, 2008
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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[Director] Ball's trying to be honest about adolescent coming of age, but since he's dishonest about everything else, the movie collapses in on itself, ending with a laughably pat resolution that renders Towelhead a Bizarro World After School Special.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1.5/4

September 19, 2008
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
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For a film that presents itself as a broadside against prejudice, Towelhead spends an awful lot of time flattering the prejudices of its audience.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

September 19, 2008
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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I understand what the film is trying to do, but not why it does it with such crude melodrama.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2/4

September 19, 2008
Neely Tucker
Washington Post
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It's clever and original with an excellent cast. Ball's script catches a lot of the novel's pop, often word for word.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

September 18, 2008
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Not since Splendor in the Grass has there been such a candid and sympathetic account of the mixed messages, double-standards, giddy highs and hormonal free falls experienced by teenage girls.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 18, 2008
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Towelhead tries hard to be incendiary and gutsy, and it sometimes succeeds. But to what gain?

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2/4

September 12, 2008
Dana Stevens
Slate
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A movie that, for all its good intentions, feels thoroughly phony and mildly embarrassing, like an extended PSA about inappropriate touching.

Full Review Source: Slate

September 12, 2008
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
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This third-act redemption raises Towelhead several notches, but it still ends up feeling like a well-acted and well-intentioned after-school special, a long way from the vividness and texture of Ball's television work.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

September 12, 2008
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Towelhead is definitely not for all tastes, but it shows a bravery that's increasingly rare in American movies.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

September 12, 2008
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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As a first-time feature director, [Ball] seldom lets the material speak for itself.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

September 12, 2008
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
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Ball has found an insinuating, perversely smooth tone in his script, but his less-adept direction inadvertently adds dissonance.

Full Review Source: NPR.org | Original Score: 5.5/10

September 12, 2008
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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A crude but scathing portrait of suburban life.

| Original Score: 3/5

September 12, 2008
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
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Towelhead spreads itself thin trying to tackle too many issues, but the nuanced characters, and an absolutely stellar cast, make this an uncommonly complex and compelling drama.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

September 11, 2008
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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Ball knows one trick, and it's sure over.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 1/5

September 11, 2008
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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[Director] Ball throws out so many provocations in Towelhead that it's no surprise a few land with a thud. But there's no questioning his talent for filmmaking. He's got the gift.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

September 11, 2008
David Fear
Time Out New York
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Even Bishil's emotionally naked performance gets lost amid Ball's insistence on rubbing our faces in ugly behavior without offering a counterbalance of insight.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/6

September 11, 2008
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
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Ball, who can't conceive of human motives beyond the hypertrophic, smutty sexuality that's his stock in trade, primly divides his characters into avatars of Sick Repression or Healthy Liberation.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 10, 2008
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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As it becomes clear that Ball, in essence, has just restaged American Beauty with a socially conscious paint job, the sensationalism of Towelhead looks more and more like a dramatic tic.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

September 10, 2008
David Edelstein
New York Magazine
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The film is superbly acted, but it's hard to know what to feel except, 'How can any girl navigate this oversexualized culture?'

Full Review Source: New York Magazine

September 8, 2008
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The ending may be too pat, but the journey to get there -- bitter, spicy, and poignant -- more than compensates for any last-minute fumbles.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

September 2, 2008
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
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Makes the provocative [American] Beauty look like a comparative tea party.

September 19, 2007
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Nothing Is Private is transgressive without being effectively subversive, gutsy to no particular end. It simply lacks style, which counts for so much in this sort of thing.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 13, 2007
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