American Violet Reviews

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Pete Hammond
Hollywood.com
April 17, 2009
The true story of racial injustice gets uninspired treatment in this well-intentioned but uninvolving film version.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Mike Scott
Times-Picayune
July 17, 2009
It does almost everything well, from the direction to the performances. But it does nothing great, dragged down by an uninspired, and oddly uninspiring, script.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Robert Levin
Film School Rejects
April 17, 2009
Instead of telling the intimate story of one woman's steadfast perseverance against impossible, imposing forces Disney opts for the bland inspirational triumph template.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru
April 18, 2009
Has solid performances that make it moderately compelling, but its weak screenplay merely simmers the provocative, initially intriguing issues of racial prejudice, police corruption and unjust laws without bringing them to a palpable boil.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.85/10
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
April 17, 2009
The narrative is infused with chilling facts, and the filmmakers know how to build their case, but a drama demands more.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Bill Weber
Slant Magazine
April 13, 2009
American Violet has the necessary anger to engage its subject but also the generic topical-telefilm aesthetics that often render it glib and inauthentic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
April 17, 2009
Its blaring earnestness and thin characters (all of whom practically wear badges identifying them as good or evil) fail to add nuance to a story that keeps making the same point in virtually every predictable scene.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Brian Tallerico
Movie Retriever
April 21, 2009
Thematically, there's a lot to like here, but the execution couldn't be more heavy-handed and two-dimensional.
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 17, 2009
The badly titled American Violet comes from filmmakers who had clearly made up their minds long before they had written a word. And it's aimed at people who have too, before they've seen a frame.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 30, 2009
American Violet feels less like life and unreasonably more like the movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
May 15, 2009
A well-played if too-familiar story of oppression and injustice.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Sura Wood
Hollywood Reporter
October 24, 2008
Its simplistic, heavy handed treatment of a complex issue gives it the weight of a contrived movie of the week melodrama.
Bruce Feld
Film Journal International
April 8, 2009
Based on the true story of a racist raid in rural Texas during the 2000 Presidential election, American Violet suffers from a routine script and flat direction.
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
April 17, 2009
No suspense is developed, and low-income housing and women's house of detention alike are prettied up without any feeling for gritty reality.
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
April 14, 2009
A docudrama with a good heart but a heavy hand.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 16, 2009
A docudrama that may have an outcome we already know, but is a loud lesson about truth, justice and the Texas Way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Nell Minow
Beliefnet
April 16, 2009
Nicole Beharie makes one of the most thrilling feature film debuts in years.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Nell Minow
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
February 14, 2012
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest
April 16, 2009
It's been a while since we've had a rousing, inspirational film about rectifying social injustices a la "Norma Rae" or "Philadelphia."
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
August 18, 2011
Less a social-problem film than a drama of personal courage.
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