Based on a book written by Alicia Erian and directed by Alan Ball, Nothing is Private is one of those provocative movies that you can play for your uptight friends to make them uncomfortable. You know the ones who think Juno is the epitome of quirky and cute. I mean, the scene with Aaron Eckhart grouping the breasts of a 13-year-old girl (although she’s played by a nineteen-year-old actress) is something that sticks with you. Now all joking aside, this is a really good movie. Alan Ball, the man who wrote American Beauty and Six Feet Under tv shows, really knows his stuff. And if you’ve seen any of them you’ll be in familiar territory. We will be exploring sexuality, racism, bad parenting, and predatory behavior. All in a very straight-forward way, primed for discussion after the end.
Considering the theme of the movie, coming of age and cumming of age of a young girl, he went for the off-beat and indie vibe. Subtle humor and quirky atmosphere defused awkward situations and helped with the pacing. I noticed that a lot of reviewers had trouble separating their own, personal values from this movie. This is an indictment of the tribal system of values having trouble dealing with a lot of issues. It’s not this movie’s job to educate young women, parents, or people with antiquated beliefs. This is a movie about a subject that’s incredibly important to all the women who are going through the same shit Jasira is going through. Of course, if this was a 13-year-old boy looking to get laid, well…
Jasira Maroun is a young girl with divorced parents and a healthy sexual appetite. Being a shy girl and living with her overprotective father doesn’t help. However, these are instincts that run much, much deeper than she expects and soon Jasira will start to experiment with her sexuality. She will be pushing her boundaries, but more importantly, also pushing the boundaries of those around her.
Nothing is Private is quite an odd dramedy. The subject of sex and especially sexual activity of teens always feels uncomfortable. You might even find it inappropriate and disturbing. However, you should know that in the age of the Internet, porn is doing most of the sexual education for teenagers. This means that Nothing is Private is quite a valuable tool for any parent or more importantly a young girl feeling the same. We need to talk about these subjects openly and not push them under the carpet. I grow up during that pushing under the carpet period and I think it was a wrong thing to do.
In the end, if you’re looking for similar movies the first one that comes to mind is Thirteen. And here are a few more recommendations with a more serious approach: Kids, Ken Park, Mysterious Skin. And for bit more relaxed approach check out The Dreamers. Finally, if you have a bad taste in your mouth after Aaron’s character here check out Hard Candy.
Director: Alan Ball
Writers: Alan Ball, Alicia Erian
Cast: Summer Bishil, Peter Macdissi, Aaron Eckhart, Carrie Preston, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Robert Baker, Chase Ellison
Fun Facts: Second time Maria Bello and Aaron Eckhart starring together. First was Thank you for Smoking.