Amreeka

"Extraordinary"

Amreeka Review


With her first feature, filmmaker Dabis takes a remarkably engaging, observant approach to a prickly situation, boldly examining raw aspects of immigration and prejudice in middle America without ever getting heavy-handed about it.

After her husband leaves her, Muna (Faour) is struggling to raise her teen son Fadi (Muallem) in the West Bank, fighting through checkpoints and taking long detours around the Israeli wall to get to work. So when she wins the US Green Card lottery, she and Fadi head to live with her sister Raghda (Abbass) and her family outside Chicago. But the adjustment isn't easy for either of them, as they face a new kind of oppression but also find friends in surprising places.

Meanwhile, Raghda starts thinking she wants to move back to Palestine.

The opening scenes buzz with the chaos of life for this non-religious family in an increasingly restrictive society. By contrast, when they reach the Midwest, the expansive silence is a huge contrast. But Muna is sure that "it's better to live as immigrants in a strange country than as prisoners in ours", so she does everything she can to make it work. Even as she runs into deep obstacles everywhere she turns, eventually taking a job serving burgers at White Castle despite her qualifications and experience as an accountant.

Even with such a serious topic, the film maintains a bright, often comical tone. At immigration, when asked, "Occupation?", Muna says, matter-of-factly, "Yes". These are lively people bursting with personality, and both Faour and Abbas find real resonance in their roles. Abbas is especially engaging as a woman who is disillusioned by the American dream but doesn't have a home to go back to. And Muallem is also terrific as a young guy facing both the standard new-school issues as well as rampant peer pressure and prejudice, taken under the wing of his hilarious cousin Salma (Shawkat).

As the film progresses, there are a couple of clunky plot points that force various confrontations and revelations, but the film remains firmly character-based, which makes both the story and the issues much more personal and resonant. And along the way, Dabis' script touches on some extremely emotional themes as well as some uncomfortable truths about Western society.

And in the end, it delivers its message about tolerance and diversity with grace and humour. A small but extremely important gem of a film.



Amreeka

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th June 2009

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Distributed by: National Geographic

Production compaines: First Generation Films, Alcina Pictures, Buffalo Gal Pictures, Levantine Entertainment, Eagle Vision Media Group, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Manitoba Film & Music, Maximum Film International, National Geographic Entertainment, R.A. Abdoo & Co., Rotana Studios, Showtime Arabia, Violet Jabara Foundation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Cherien Dabis

Producer: Paul Barkin, Christina Piovesan

Starring: as Muna Farah, as Fadi Farah, Hiam Abbass as Raghda Halaby, as Salma Halaby, Jenna Kawar as Rana Halaby, Joseph Ziegler as Stan Novatski, Yussuf Abu-Warda as Nabeel Halaby, Selena Haddad as Lamis Halaby, Amer Hlehel as Samer, Suheila Muallem as Jamie, Brodie Sanderson as Matt, Andrew Sannie as James, Daniel Boiteau as Mike, Jeff Button as Jason, Miriam Smith as Bank Employee

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.