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Towelhead (aka Nothing is Private), Alan Ball (2007)

Well, a number of ways to go on this:

Highbrow: Incisive parable re contemporary geopolitics in which a variety of American adults project/insert their fantasies/fears of how the world is/should be upon/into the body of an adolescent Arab-American girl named Jasira. Key line: “I’ll think about you in Iraq,” delivered by redneck Army reservist just after raping Jasira.

Middlebrow: Poignant Breakfast Club/Sixteen Candles/Fast Times at Ridgemont High do-over. Key line: “No! I’m only thirteen!” Delivered by Jasira when prompted by the Glamour Shots guy at the mall to push the strap of her dress off her shoulder.

Bottom line: Enormous albeit ambitious mess which wants to do suburban ennui, child abuse, colonialism, globalism, sisterhood-is-powerful, war, adolescence, racism, family romance, sexual politics, and much more, and succeeds a little at each and not much at any. Key evidence: Any movie that resorts to ending with a childbirth scene is grasping at straws.

Down and dirty line: Alan Ball creeps me out. Here and in American Beauty, he purports to present child pornography as social commentary, but I gotta tell ya, he seems awful excited about presenting child pornography as child pornography, too.

Random observation: I keep thinking that Peter Macdissi is Brent Spiner with a suntan and fake mustache, which makes for a lot of really weird cognitive dissonance.

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