| Original Score: B+
Less a social-problem film than a drama of personal courage.
While it may be about as subtle as a swinging sledgehammer, it does leave its mark.
| Original Score: 3/4
Nicole. Beharie. Remember the name, for if her stunning lead turn is any indication, huge things are in the future.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
[American Violet] is so compelling and intriguing that it's easy for the audience to forget they're being preached to.
Put on your outrage cap.
| Original Score: 3/4
Newcomer Beharie gives a polished performance that deserves awards consideration.
It's not enough for a movie to have a Black cast for it to be good, it must have good writing, engaging stories and impassioned actors. This film has all three.
| Original Score: A
A conventional but wholly gripping docudrama.
American Violet is an earnest muckraker about the justice system that won't win points for style, but wins plenty for substance.
| Original Score: B
A torn-from-the-headlines tale of institutional racism and injustice in the Lone Star State of not-so-long-ago, American Violet might not be subtle, but it's certainly powerful.
American Violet dramatizes Kelly's case, and does so in a way that will leave audiences applauding in their seats -- and wondering how much of the film is true.
Director Tim Disney and screenwriter Bill Haney lay out Dee's story with a minimum of fuss. They are smart enough to realize that the material is compelling all on its own.
Movingly told and packed with powerful subject matter.
...a well acted piece and a scary indictment of the American penal system.
| Original Score: B-
American Violet is a fine film. Dee Roberts is not an abstract symbol of injustice. To watch a mother be wrenched away from her children is heartrending.
| Original Score: 4/5
Raw and heart wrenching, uncovering the sort of discomforting, concealed when not buried history that in an odd trend lately, is more likely to make its way to the big screen than the news headlines.
Based on the infamous Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force case in Tulia, Texas, American Violet makes clear the corruption and racism that pervades the official structures of its fictional town.
| Original Score: 6/10
In a riveting debut performance, Nicole Beharie captures your heart and soul in a compelling, moving tale that inspires hope to many youths today.
This flaw in the justice system might affect anyone, but American Violet shows how easily it can be racialized in a place where hardened social attitudes combine with drugs and poverty to create a permanent black underclass.