This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do something you're afraid of...

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Alan Ball's new film, Towelhead (aka Nothing Is Private) at Arclight Hollywood. I knew it was a coming-of-age film involving cultural differences, statutory/child rape, puberty and budding sexuality. I knew that it was a potent mixture of electrically charged topics--quite a bit for one film.

I knew that it might be difficult to watch. I knew it might be disturbing. Some people I know haven't seen the film for those very reasons. Some people who did see the film said it made them cry, it made them angry. A handful wanted to leave the theatre, but they couldn't-- they'd become transfixed in Alan Ball's all-too-real story about a Lebanese girl, Jasira Maroun (Summer Bishil) trying to find her place in the world.

The MPAA gave the film an R rating for "strong, disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language."

Despite all of this, I wasn't afraid. Many times, I think the best movies are the ones that elicit the most extreme reactions from audiences. What makes you squirm? Why does it bother you so much? Have you spied on a neighbor or gossiped about them because you didn't approve of their lifestyle? Have you had feelings about something or someone that you've tried to suppress because your mind tells you it's wrong? Have you had private questions about taboo subjects, but had no one to ask?

Alan Ball poses these questions while pushing all your buttons. He likes to show the dark side of suburbia. He likes to tell stories that unfold in a way that exposes both the beauty and the ugliness of humanity. People can be ugly and racist and hypocritical. We like to put everyone in a box and slap a label on it. We try to make things simple, when in reality, everything is filled with complexity.

See the film even if it isn't a popcorn flick. See it even if it makes you squirm in your seat. Although, it packs a little too much into one movie ( a bit of a detriment to the film), it's an important film because the things that are disturbing about it are disturbing because they're real. We don't want to acknowledge it, but disturbing things happen everyday.

Alicia Erian (novel)
Alan Ball (screenplay)

Towelhead Movie

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

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