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Amreeka, Movie

Amreeka 2009

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Muna (Nisreen Faour) is a non-religous Palestinian, making her an outsider on both sides of the Israeli border. Against all odds Muna wins big in the US green card lottery. The single mother leaves the West Bank with Fadi (Melkar Muallem), her teenage son, and with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. However, they arrive in the US soon after the start of the Iraq war, when anti-Arab sentiment runs high. More

As Fadi navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle.

The heart-warming comedy-drama is the first feature from US filmmaker Cherien Dabis. Hide

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Flicks.co.nz Review

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  • Notsofast

    You say you are not an expert and that I agree with. I'm asian amercan and she's got the racism, the high school cliques down pat.

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Steve Newall Flicks Writer

Purporting to be a heart-warming, fish-out-of-water immigration flick, Amreeka is instead a giant bland-fest, unleashing a misfiring charm offensive in place of strong characterisation or a story that has a destination in mind. Whilst it opens strongly in the West Bank with its depiction of Palestinian life and the behaviour of Israeli occupation forces (perfectly pitched between everyday bullies and militaristic thugs), the film swiftly loses its way when Muna and her son Fadi arrive in the US after winning the green card lottery. More

One gets the sense that many of the events that take place from this point onwards – from Muna taking a job at White Castle while claiming to her family she has work at a bank, to Fadi’s persecution at high school as the invasion of Iraq commences – are drawn from real experiences. Unfortunately, first-time director Cherien Dabis renders them as a series of misunderstandings and borderline clichés that, particularly in the case of Muna, come across less as culture clash than outright stupidity. I’m no expert in Palestinian employment law, for instance, but I’m pretty positive that it would be frowned upon there to take an overweight customer’s order at the counter and then offer her weight-loss pills.

With an absence of genuine dramatic tension, despite characters’ financial pressures and a violent arc, Amreeka proves a lightweight and forgettable debut feature that fails to paper over its many cracks with a smile. Hide

The People's Reviews

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1 ratings and 1 review

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A movie looking for a story line

Weds_Loafers Flicks Superstar (?)

School holidays often make for restricted movie choices and we went to "Amreeka" (despite the Flicks review) because it rated 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Well done Flicks -- we should have paid attention! This was a movie with potential but no idea how to achieve it. For the first hour or so we all wanted to punch the main character in the face! A series of largely unconnected vignettes with no real story. Don't go!

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Press Reviews

87% of critics recommend

Consensus: "A dramedy that's got a taste for the tragic as well as the poignantly comic, Amreeka adds a new sweetness to the hope and distress of the immigrant experience."

ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE. Read more reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)

A heartwarming film, not a political dirge. Much of this warmth comes from the actress Nisreen Faour. Full review.

Christchurch Press (James Croot)

Palestinian woman Muna (Nisreen Faour) has grown tired of the daily checkpoints and roadblocks she has to endure to get to and from work. Full review.

Hollywood Reporter

Dabis, a Palestinian-American, has thoroughly re-energized the genre with refreshing wit, honest emotions, incisive observations and a perfect cast. Full review.

Los Angeles Times

This is a pointed, emotional story of a divorced Palestinian woman and her son who immigrate to the U.S. just after the invasion of Iraq, a story that benefits from Dabis' background as a child growing up in the Midwest during the Gulf War as the daughter of a Palestinian father and a Jordanian mother. Full review.

New York Times

One of the most accomplished recent films about a non-European immigrant coming to the United States. Full review.

NZ Herald (Peter Calder)

Entertaining if heavy-handed Full review.

Variety (USA)

A culture-clash dramedy whose background in Middle-East conflict is leavened with vibrant energy, balanced politics and droll humor by first-time feature director Cherien Dabis. Full review.