Monday, December 13, 2010

Meltingpot Movie Review -- Amreeka

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So last night, I was folding laundry and since it's now official that I can't fold without watching TV, I decided to pop in a movie I pulled off the shelf at the library last week. Since my other selection was Avatar, I figured I ought to get at least something slightly more intellectual, so I got a foreign film. I figure even if it blows chunks, with a foreign film, at least I'm being exposed to a new language.

Well, I picked a winner in Amreeka, a lovely indie film by first-time director Cherien Dabis. The story is pretty simple. A single mother of a teenage son, leaves her home country to move to America for a better life. That home country in this story is the West Bank. The part of America they arrive to is small-town Illinois, and as you can imagine, there is no happily ever after.

What made this movie so compelling was that we got to see the mother and her son in Israel/the West Bank before they came to America, giving the audience a chance to see what they left behind wasn't horrible, but freedom in America still sounded better. Also, the characters were Arab and Christian, making them minorities and misunderstood in both Israel and the United States.
The story took place just as the United States was about to invade Iraq, so hearing about the politics of that time period from an Arab-immigrant perspective was quite enlightening as well as harrowing and sad. Can you say UGLY AMERICAN?

I really enjoyed this movie despite the depressing overtones of the film, because it was laced with gentle humor and optimism. The actors all gave really fine, genuine performances and the food, yes the food, played a yummy role. If you can find a copy of Amreeka, definitely pick it up. You won't be disappointed.


evelyn.n.alfred said...

I'm going to see if this is on Netflix. Everytime I retwist my hair I need a movie to watch.

LT said...

Ha! I hear you. Laundry and hair twisting, my best excuses for watching TV/movies.

baiskeli said...

My wife and I watched it a few weeks ago, and I'm surprised there isn't more of a buzz about it.

It's a subtle movie that eschews simplicity for complex storytelling. Really great movie.

LT said...

I totally agree. I hadn't heard of it till, I stumbled upon it in the library.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I have a new TV and am signing up for NetFlix. I am so excited because I haven't watched anything for a loooong time. I am putting this movie first on my list!! Thanks for the review.