Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: When Jasira's mother sends her to Houston to live with her strict Lebanese father, she quickly learns that her new neighbors find her and her father a curiosity. Worse, her budding womanhood makes her traditional and hot-tempered father uncomfortable. Lonely in this new environment, Jasira seeks friendship and acceptance from her neighbors Mr. Vuoso, an Army reservist, and Melina, a meddling but caring expectant mother. (Warner Independent Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Priya Jain
    100
    To call Towelhead exploitative is to miss the point. What made Towelhead the novel so extraordinary was the honesty in Jasira's adolescent narrative voice, the genuine way she misguidedly, but honestly, conflates the sexual attention she receives with the parental affection she really needs. With the film, Ball, though he drops the book's first person narration, is faithful to that voice.
  2. 88
    The movie puts Jasira -- and the audience -- through the wringer, but it also makes the ride worth it.
  3. The story builds to a feverish pitch and then never reaches a satisfactory conclusion. But while it’s onscreen, the film moves, incites, and jabs, all while reminding us how difficult it is to grow up female and sane in this world.
  4. The film is superbly acted (especially by Macdissi, who makes the father a borderline hysteric), but it's hard to know what to feel except, "How can any girl navigate this oversexualized culture?"
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    50
    The potency of the acting is also undercut by leaden pacing and a sense of claustrophobia.
  6. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    50
    The 19-year-old actress Summer Bishil captures the terrifying combination of lubricity and innocence that is being 13. Her performance is the truest thing in a movie that, for all its good intentions, feels thoroughly phony and mildly embarrassing.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    20
    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.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. JoeZ.
    Sep 19, 2008
    10
    This filmed is loaded with so much emotional content that you will cringe watching it. Rarely does a film move you in your seat so often.
  2. RichardB.
    Sep 13, 2008
    10
    This movie pulls no punches. Summer Bishil is and amazing actress. This will be one of the best of the year.
  3. JenniferK
    Jan 6, 2010
    9
    Funny, sad, disgusting, rivetting, nauseating, feel-good movie- Summer Bashil is definitely the star of the movie- One of the best movies I have seen in a long time- at times I didn't know wheter to vomit, cry shout or laugh- some consider this movie to be an unrealistic after school special on the dangers of inappropriate touching, for me the movie seemed very real-to-life. Expand
  4. SeanF.
    Jan 1, 2009
    8
    I would have given this a ten, but some of the content seems a little over the top. If you like movies like Happiness or American Beauty, this movie will not disappoint. Expand
  5. JayH.
    Dec 23, 2008
    7
    This movie tackles some pretty heavy subject matters, and pulls it off quite professionally. Very well acted by everyone in the cast. I never lost interest, fine direction. The score is a bit routine though. Expand
  6. Dale
    Aug 12, 2009
    4
    The film is artless, harsh, an stripped of any mystery. The performances are good, and Summer Bishi is highly promising. I'm glad I saw it just to see her fine work. Collapse
  7. BrandenR.
    Jan 27, 2009
    2
    Why was this movie made? It had no redeeming qualities in it.

See all 13 User Reviews

Trailers