American Violet - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American Violet Reviews

Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
October 15, 2009
While it may be about as subtle as a swinging sledgehammer, it does leave its mark.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
May 15, 2009
A well-played if too-familiar story of oppression and injustice.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
May 1, 2009
A conventional but wholly gripping docudrama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
May 1, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
May 1, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 1, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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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
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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
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 17, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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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
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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
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John Anderson
Newsday
April 17, 2009
American Violet is a justice story, with some honest justice. It's nicely reassuring that it happens to be true.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
April 17, 2009
American Violet, which is based on real events that took place in late 2000, has the quasi-documentary feel of a well-made television drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
April 16, 2009
What does it taste like? There's a slight aftertaste of force-feeding, to be sure. But mostly, thanks to excellent, nuanced performances by Beharie, Woodard, Nelson and Patton, it tastes like justice.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
April 16, 2009
The film is more affecting than it ought to be, thanks to a loaded cast that includes Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson, Will Patton, Charles Dutton, and the rapper and sometime actor Xzibit.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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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
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
April 15, 2009
An artlessly powerful performance by newcomer Nicole Behaire anchors American Violet, an instructive, sturdily built drama based on a true story worth teaching.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 15, 2009
A harrowing, compelling and profoundly true story that dares to tackle an important but too rarely exposed issue of the abuse of power in the American criminal justice system.
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Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
April 14, 2009
A docudrama with a good heart but a heavy hand.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
April 13, 2009
You can laugh at American Violet, but most defendants are scared into pleading guilty and need all the poster girls they can get.
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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.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
October 18, 2008
Earnestly presented and well acted, particularly by newcomer Nicole Beharie in the central role, the film shares with many other such agenda-driven dramas a complete lack of narrative surprise, merely connecting the dots.