American Violet Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2011
It's a story that's been done many times, and it's a bit predictable, but American Violet is a gripping docudrama about the Texas justice system that features powerful and award-worthy performances from the whole cast but I expect nothing but greatness and stardom for Nicole Behairie. (Alfre Woodard is also amazing).
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2010
Really, really good movie. Unreal that this stuff really happened, and still happens. I love a good true story, especially if it has Alfre Woodard in it. I cannot believe that this District Attorney was never fired, AND was re-elected to boot. What a world we live in. sheesh
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2010
Nichole Beharie as Dee Roberts gives a truly inspiring performance as a mother, living in the projects, who is wrongly accused of drug dealing, and then is caught up in a corrupted criminal justice system that railroads those who have little way of defending themselves against a system created to protect them.

The message here, while being a bit heavy handed, needs to be said, and the film does a very good job of delving into the consequences of a political system that simply bulldozes people for government funding, not caring what happens to those they trample.

There are some very touching scenes where Dee is jailed for 21 days for a crime she didn't commit; including a scene where she is allowed ten minutes to see her children - through a small grimy piece of glass that is stuck high up in a doorway. The will of this woman to perservere is astonishing, and the film does a nice job of showing you what would have happened if she had taken the offered plea bargain - a felony record that would prohibit her from receiving any kind of government assistance; from food stamps to housing - and, having a criminal record would severly hamper her attempts at finding a job, which of course could possibly lead to child protective services taking her children.

Dee has enough problems just getting on with life - trying to raise her children, with her children's deadbeat dad and his abusive girlfriend in the same building, and yet even after her conviction is overturned, her subsequent case (spearheaded by the A.C.L.U.) puts her in the D.A.'s crosshairs - who uses his substantial infuence to not only prevent her from returning to her job of 7 years, but even makes sure that she is terminated from the minimum wage job she finally manages to procure. All for a good arrest record, which not only serves to line the county coffers via federal funds, but keeps the D.A.'s "tough on crime" credo in the spotlight - and, ugliest of all, satisfies his predudice against people of color.

Still, Dee persists, and the D.A. is forced to make restitution to those wrongfully accused; but the bigger victory is that the law in which a person could be tried based on information provided by a single source,without corroborating evidence, was overturned.

This is a very forthright docu-drama, earnestly filmed, that includes an inspiring lead performance and some equally fine supporting performances by the likes of Alfre Woodard, Will Patten, Tim Blake Nelson, and Charles Dutton.
Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2010
In "American Violet," Dee Roberts(Nicole Beharie), a single mother of four and a waitress in Melody, Tx, finds herself getting caught up in a police dragnet orchestrated by District Attorney Calvin Beckett(Michael O'Keefe) who has a fondness for helicopters. She is shocked to discover this has nothing to do with the $782 she owes in parking tickets. She and many of her neighbors in a public housing project are accused of selling drugs on the word of a single informant and her bail is set at $70,000 which of course she cannot afford. Her young court appointed lawyer David Higgins(Paul David Story) advises her to take the plea bargain, a 10 year suspended sentence, which many of her fellow defendants accept. But if she does, she will lose any benefits and the public housing where she lives. This is not the first time this has happened as the ACLU gets involved in the person of David Cohen(Tim Blake Nelson) who petitions local lawyer Sam Conway(Will Patton) to help in the case.

Based on a true story, "American Violet" should frighten anyone who genuinely fears the power the government can wield against its own citizens. Clearly told, the movie also asks questions about the criminal justice system and how the poor and minorities become trapped in it that somebody will have to answer one day, with a special focus on the war on drugs.(Remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.) My favorite scene is where David identifies himself as ACLU, while approaching Sam at a gun range. The movie is not without its share of faults, however, as it could have been better directed. It is also a little too neatly resolved(Damn you, Law and Order!), even if the story is still ongoing. Luckily, the movie is not that heavyhanded, as its sole Potemkin moment comes in an early sequence. And through Will Patton's bravura performance, Sam becomes as much a center of the story as Dee who has the most to lose and proves there is always something worth fighting for.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2009
Amazing movie. I applauded the heroes who exposed the racist injustice for what it was. Great acting. Gripping story.
Super Reviewer
½ May 15, 2010
I was amazed with this movie, it has such a touching story. It really captivated me. The movie follows a young African American woman who is a single mother of 4 in a very harsh neighborhood. She gets accused and charged of dealing drugs even though she's innocent. She's an honest women with a clean record and there is a hint of racism in the air of the accusing lawyer. The movie follows the woman while she struggles to prove her innocence. This movie was touching and really makes one think about the World we live in and all the judgment we have against the people we know too little about. I loved this movie and I will remember it for a long time. Also it had some very great acting talents, a must see.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2010
Based on a true story, American Violet told the story of Dee Roberts, a waitress at a local diner and mother of 4 little girls, who was arrested during a drug sweep in her neighborhood. She was taken away from her work in handcuffs, and dumped in the women prison. The local DA who led the drug bust, swept many black people to jail. Dee discovered that she has been charged as a drug dealer. Even though she had no drug record and no drugs were found on her, she was offered a choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted woman or remain in prison, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence. She chose to fight the criminal justice system, risking everything,that changed her life and the Texas justice system.
September 18, 2012
"American Violet" is based on the incredible true story of a Texas mother who was unjustly accused of dealing drugs and took a stand against the entire Texas justice system. This film is all about Nicole Beharie and her powerhouse performance. She absolutely becomes this character and, whether she is screaming at her ex-husband or quietly intimidated in prison, each line is delivered with poignant urgency. I really enjoyed the script as it brought full disclosure to the unjust racism in our society. The dialogue flows from start to finish and creates some amazing movie moments along the way, none better than Michael O'Keefe's racist outburst during his deposition. Be prepared for an emotionally-charged experience when you turn on "American Violet" as it dives into life in the projects and a darker side of the justice system.
August 4, 2012
Well done docudrama that will cause you to ponder if we have really moved all that ahead in matters of race.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2010
I thought this was very interesting. Even though she wasn't guilty, I can see how it would have been easier to take the plea bargain. I'm glad she stuck it out and fought them. She made some poor choices in life that ended her up in that bad environment, though.
January 31, 2010
Excellent movie of the perseverance to change the justice system. Definitely a must see for those who haven't seen it.
½ December 26, 2009
Wow! What a story-line!!! Precious and her mom (Monique) really played dramatic roles. From anger to teary-eyed, this movie invoked strong emotions upon me from the message the film relayed about life adversities for improvished children...
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2009
A true story of racial injustice. Shame on Texas where defendants are scared into pleading guilty of crimes they did not commit, simply because they are black. What's wrong with these horrible racist a-holes? I'm sure there are a lot more similar cases across the US too. It makes me sick!

American Violet is a powerful movie. I think everyone should see it.
½ October 17, 2009
I thought this would be a B movie, boy was I wrong. This movie was much better than I thought it would be, Booo for Texas.
October 4, 2009
Predictable but generally well done drama. Nicole Beharie is excellent in the lead role. Fair screenplay, it didn?t really have anything new to offer. Alfre Woodard is always good.
½ August 16, 2009
This was a good movie that really bought to attention the injustices that be happening in small towns all around America. Dee was a brave girl for not copping out to a guilty plea, but the truest hero in the movie was the assistant ACLU attorney. Without him alone, Dee would have be doing that bid.
½ May 20, 2015
Inspiring story of a brave woman who faces a corrupt justice system and triumphs. We need more people like her and movies like this one to call attention to what needs to be changed.
April 25, 2015
Excellent movie, as an attorney can say this is one of more accurate legal dramas I have seen. Sorry I didn't hear more about this when released but a very powerful movie and still very timely. Great acting!
November 17, 2013
A brutal look at the violence and injustice of the American way of life which is passionately filmed. The actors bring the raw emotions to the screen with heartache. The ignorant superiority of the white against the black in this true American lifestyle movie comes across strongly showing that Americans are the worst people and society on earth and should be corrected. Nibbles: Chocolate Orange Cake.
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