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Towelhead
In <em>Towelhead </em>Alan Ball&mdash;of <em>American Beauty</em> and <em>Six Feet Under </em>fame&mdash;shows another &ldquo;disturbing slice of suburban American pie,&rdquo; said Gary Gold
 

Towelhead
Directed by Alan Ball
(R)

**

An Arab-American teen deals with life in Texas.

Towelhead is “a disturbing slice of suburban American pie,” said Gary Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times. That’s familiar fare for writer-director Alan Ball, who wrote American Beauty and created HBO’s Six Feet Under. For his first feature film, Ball has adapted Alicia Erian’s novel about an Arab-American girl’s “percolating sexuality and the firestorm it sets off.” Ball fans know he’s capable of handling even the most discomforting of family dynamics, but in Towelhead he “struggles to find a precise or convincing tone.” Ball juggles too many themes, said Todd McCarthy in Variety. Using the first Gulf War as a backdrop, he examines racial and cultural prejudices and parent-child relationships, but doesn’t stop there. The film dwells awkwardly on the stomach-knotting sexual relationship between an adult and a girl barely in her teens. Navigating such emotional land mines “demands great finesse,” and Ball doesn’t have it. Towelhead isn’t for everyone, said Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. But in tackling such incendiary material, Ball “shows a bravery that’s increasingly rare” in Hollywood.

 

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