The Letter: An American Town and the 'Somali Invasion' - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Letter: An American Town and the 'Somali Invasion' Reviews

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Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 1, 2005
As helpful as it is to realize that white supremacists are as loony in Maine as they are in Idaho or Florida, The Letter is too confused and confusing to make anything more than the most simplistic points.
| Original Score: 3/5
Ken Fox
TV Guide
February 11, 2005
A frustrating lack of details compromise this much-needed look at how the promise of American diversity failed a community of Somali refugees in a large Maine town.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Robert Koehler
February 14, 2005
Some chilling characters are on display.
Top Critic
Peter L'Official
Village Voice
February 8, 2005
Hamzeh's film eschews voice-over to allow the more despicable characters to embarrass themselves with their ludicrously foolish invective.
Top Critic
Russell Scott Smith
New York Post
February 9, 2005
In the last 20 minutes, the film moves as breathlessly as a Hollywood thriller -- only it's much more frightening, because it's true.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kristin Tillotson
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 31, 2005
By allowing a range of residents' opinions to drive the narrative forward and ending on a positive note, [Hamzeh] made a film that won a standing ovation at its Lewiston premiere in January.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rick Kisonak
Film Threat
February 14, 2005
An affecting work of compassionate craftsmanship.
| Original Score: 4/5
Eric Monder
Film Journal International
March 31, 2005
A true story with an 'inciting incident' that resonates with significance about race, culture, community, and the world itself.
David Sterritt
Christian Science Monitor
February 10, 2005
Revealing and harrowing.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Anita Gates
New York Times
February 9, 2005
Ziad H. Hamzeh's documentary is important as a record of a disturbing incident that occured when 1,100 immigrants from Somalia settled in Maine.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
February 24, 2005
A powerful and timely portrait of the tensions that can be generated by immigration situations, especially in a post-Sept. 11 world.
Steve Schneider
Orlando Weekly
March 31, 2005
Allows slavering bigots and slicker-tongued hypocrites alike to speak for themselves, thus exposing the essential interdependence of over-the-counter racism and its institutionalized, more soundbite-savvy variation.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert
L.A. Weekly
August 11, 2005
A carefully wrought, historically grounded and thoroughly absorbing look at a quintessential American experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
August 11, 2005
Undeniably strong, The Letter is at times misleading and confusing, possessing the raw materials for a much more coherent and potent film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matt Prigge
Philadelphia Weekly
December 6, 2005
Were it simply a case of truth being stranger than fiction, Syrian-born filmmaker Ziad Hamzeh's America-set doc (which played New York last month) would sport one of the year's most thrilling plots.
| Original Score: B
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