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Amreeka (2009)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 70
Fresh: 61 | Rotten: 9

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.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 4

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.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,111

My Rating

Movie Info

"Amreeka" chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. Told with heartfelt humor, "Amreeka" is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home.



Cherien Dabis

Jan 12, 2010


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All Critics (70) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (9) | DVD (1)

You'll end up baffled that a film built on such shaky foundations can end up being so impossibly sweet.

May 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Cherien Dabis too easily resolves or dismisses the characters' problems, making way for an upbeat ending.

December 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A feel-good comedy about a Palestinian mother who moves to rural Illinois with her teenaged son, Amreeka is a kind of stealth political film that confronts issues of ethnic tension and American xenophobia.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Amreeka makes its points with gentle humour and engaging performances -- especially Faour, who makes Muna so likeable it's impossible not to cross your fingers and hope her luck is about to change.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Cherien Dabis' debut feature is a surprising, humorous, moving and very human story about a Palestinian family's emigration to Illinois on the eve of the Iraq war.

October 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A good-hearted film about the resilience of the human spirit.

October 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enjoyable but uneven, Amreeka is an unlikely comic take on the plight of the displaced, at home and abroad.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

It sounds heavygoing but if anything Amreeka is a little too sweet and cosy for its own good.

May 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Not a subtle film, but an attractive, affecting one.

May 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian | Comment (1)

In attempt to sustain momentum, the film begins to lurch from comic-book realism to join-the-dots melodrama.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

This is a vulnerable but proud woman who we can't help but like.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

The film is more gentle than harsh, relying on a very fine performance from the charming Faour and settings in Palestine and Illinois that seem very real.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The political issues are a little heavy handed but the story - partly drawn from the director's own experience - works best when it focuses on the personal.

May 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

It's charming and laidback, preferring wry, compassionate humour to politicking.

May 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Likeable but lightweight, Dabis' emigration tale plays largely for laughs, sapping some of the drama from the storyline.

May 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A winning tale of battling racism and prejudice in multi-cultural America.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source:

A giant bland-fest, unleashing a misfiring charm offensive in place of strong characterisation or a story that has a destination in mind.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source:

It's funny, it's politically charged, it's deeply felt, and director Cherien Dabis keeps skillful control over all of these aspects to maintain balance.

July 3, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

Amreeka is only one of a number of recent immigrant tales to hit theaters, but with its blend of sweet humor and topical relevance, it's one of the more compelling -- and surprising -- in some time.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

Dabis wisely keeps her film firmly grounded in the personal and specific...focusing on the experiences of one family which she makes us care about.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

It's the humanity of the work that makes it resonate and the insight into a culture closed to most Australians that makes it illuminating

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The movie is insightful in its depiction of Palestinian suffering and the insensitivity of the United States. Faour is very appealing in the lead role, making great use of her hope-filled eyes.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

You can try to resist it, but by the time Cherien Dabis' writing/directing effort is over, you'll be completely sucked in.

October 30, 2009
Kansas City Star

Audience Reviews for Amreeka

By the end, the messaging gets so heavy-handed that the movie loses some credibility with its intended audience. But if you're an American, you know there is truth to all of it, and this film provides an opportunity to put yourself in a Palestinian's shoes and feel a bit of their experience.
January 3, 2013
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

A stealth political piece about a Palestinian family's rough immigration to heartland America, effectively put across by a lovable cast. Here is a writer/director to watch.
April 7, 2012

Super Reviewer

I was kind of "meh" with this one. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I guess from the cover I expected more of a comedy.. and it is kind of funny.... but not too as it deals with a serious topic. It probably works better in the more serious parts, but I felt like I didn't really connect too well with any of it. The cast are good and you do hope to see them do well, but by the end of the film I was glad to see it finish too. Not really sure what the problem was exactly. And the pipe smoking really put me off at the end as well as it seemed irresponsible with all the kids at the table (just a little pet hate of mine!). Don't know... maybe worth a watch on tv for free, but not one to seek out.
October 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

In Amreeka, we have an Indie film that explores the well trod ground and fish out of water scenario of someone from a foreign land moving to America. In this case the script has some merit as it shows a Palestinian mother and son who put up with the daily travails of getting from the west bank into Jerusalem where they reside with grandma.

When the opportunity arises to journey to Illinois, the son, a gifted private school student, jumps at the chance, and while his mother is a bit more reticent, having a well paying job, finally acquiesces after an incident occurs involving her son and a border agent.

Of course once they get to Illinois, where mom's sister is living with a successful doctor, reality sets in, and we find, as usual, that things can never live up to our expectations. Adding tension to the mix is the post 911 fallout, where anyone looking "Arab" is shunned.

There is a certain empathy to be seen here, though I've seen this type of film before and seen it better (The Kite Runner for example). The filming is very straight forward, and shot with whatever light was available (which gives much of the film a very "home movie" feel to it). The narrative is linear, and on the whole gives you an "ordinary day in the life" attitude, although at times you feel led on a leash as the narrative tries to shoehorn the message and events become just a bit too convenient.

The performance of Nisreen Faour as the mother is a good one, as she maintains a certain inner strength that comes through the lens well. Her son, played by Melkar Muallem is also well played, and in all, in spite of some obvious Indie conventions and the fact that the film is really showing us nothing groundbreaking, does manage to mildly entertain through its less than 100 minute run time, although I cringed at the obvious male attraction, savior to the rescue aspect of the school principal - even while applauding his acceptance, not only for her race, but her, shall we say, overly abundant figure.
October 28, 2011
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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