The long-awaited directorial debut of Alan Ball does not disappoint. Nothing is Private, based on the Alicia Erian novel, Towelhead, is an alternately moving and bitingly funny portrait of a Lebanese-American father and daughter who are lost at sea when it comes to understanding the country they live in, but no more so than their neighbors. Fans of the television show Six Feet Under will instantly recognize Peter Macdissi, the actor playing Rifat, the father, as the unscrupulous art teacher Olivier who was forever giving terrible advice to Lauren Ambrose's character on that show.
Here he affects the same kind of aggressively clueless persona, but with a stronger tinge of seriousness. Rifat, while educated and Americanized, is also a fierce traditionalist who slaps his daughter to the ground for wearing skimpy clothes, and then tries to recover by telling her "I forgive you." Summer Bishil plays 13 year-old Jasira, who is tormented at school by boys who call her 'towelhead.' One of those boys follows up that insult by promptly walking back up to Jasira and telling her 'You shouldn't let people call you that.'