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Thursday, December 10, 2009


Let me at the start say this about the new movie Amreeka; when it ended, I was disappointed, because I wanted to know more about the lives of these people.

This is a story of a Palestinian woman struggling to live in the Israeli military-occupied West Bank, where a trip between her work and her home has stretched from 15 minutes to two hours. When she's been chosen in a lottery to receive a U.S. green card, she makes the difficult decision to uproot herself and her 16-year-old son for Amreeka (America), leaving her mother and brother behind. She soon realizes that life the new country, outside of Chicago, is also difficult as she, her son, and even the family she's been staying with face prejudice and struggle to make ends meet.

One of the things that I think made the movie more believable is the lack of actors I recognize. Unless you're a fan of Arrested Development, in which case you might note one performer, these are folks you just don't know. Notably, the lead actress, Nisreen Faour, is very compelling, very genuine.

A complaint about the movie is that it's obvious as an After School Special. Not having watched a whole lot of them in the day, I'm lead to believe that this is a putdown of a film that's overly simplistic. I'm more with the 88% of the critics who liked the film, such as Louise Keller of Urban Cinefile, who writes: "Writer director Cherien Dabis writes about what she knows about being a stranger in a new land: the difficulties, the isolation, the conflicts, the misunderstandings. The result is a heartfelt and engaging film."

There are a couple obvious pointed political points, notably the changing SUPPORT OUR TROOPS sign which distracted briefly. The movie begins just as the Iraqi war begins, and that backdrop is important in the story's development.

My wife liked the film as well. A good Sunday afternoon date movie.


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