Parents' Guide to

Towelhead

By Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Racism and abuse sabotage teen's sexual awakening.

Movie R 2008 124 minutes
Towelhead Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 13+

This could teach your children to speak UP!

I see a lot of myself in this girl in SOME ways. I was always looking for love and I got taken advantage of, just like her. Being young you don't always know what's wrong especially with age differences, or sexual abuse. I was passive, just like her. If I watched this at a younger age I think I would have made different choices. I'm 19 now and I know how to stand up for myself and say no. But being 14 I didn't know that you didn't have to have sex if you didn't want to. I thought just because you liked someone, its not wrong. Even if they're way older than you. So parents, please, show this movie to your daughters. Even if it's a little uncomfortable it may just help them in a way.
age 18+

Great movie but very strong - Hard to stomach!

I liked this movie a lot. It's different than anything I've ever seen before but it's definitely not for everyone - you will either love it or hate it. I bought it after much hesitation (online reviews are mixed - mostly positive) and watched with a family member even though I had seen some of it previously - big mistake! How incredibly embarrassing! It has a lot of very very very awkwardly uncomfortable situations, extremely realistic acting and quite a few gruesome scenes as well. I liked it for the drama because the actual story is very good, but its mainly all about sex...and starts with a porn magazine and an older neighbor that a 13 year old girl cannot give up. Worth a look if you're interested in this kind of theme - but - watch it alone!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (4 ):

TOWELHEAD is very hard to watch. The fact that it's being touted as a "comedy" is misleading at the very least. The only laughs come when the audience reacts to the depths of cruelty, selfishness, and insensitivity on display. Even "black" comedy shouldn't be this bleak. When not laughing at the characters' witless behavior, viewers will gasp at their brutality, ugliness, and insensitivity. These are damaged people, stunted emotionally, blaming others, and wreaking havoc on the next generation.

If the intention of writer-director Alan Ball is to "shock" and "awe" audiences on his way to revealing that even the most vulnerable among us can survive nearly anything, he's partially successful. The performances are stellar, with all the actors making an effort to show the humanity beneath the horrific behavior. Unfortunately, the end product is just inescapably grim and relentless.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 10, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2008
  • Cast: Aaron Eckhart , Peter Macdissi , Summer Bishil , Toni Collette
  • Director: Alan Ball
  • Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African actors, Female actors, Indian/South Asian actors, Latino actors
  • Studio: Warner Independent
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 124 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language.
  • Last updated: February 27, 2023

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