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Amreeka (2009)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  17 June 2009 (France)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,922 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 21 user | 68 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

A drama centered on the trials and tribulations of a proud Palestinian Christian immigrant single mother and her teenage son in small town Indiana.

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Title: Amreeka (2009)

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8 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nisreen Faour ...
Melkar Muallem ...
Fadi Farah
...
Raghda Halaby
...
Salma Halaby
Yussuf Abu-Warda ...
Nabeel Halaby (as Yussef Abu Warda)
...
Mr. Novatski
Amer Hlehel ...
Samer
Selena Haddad ...
Lamis Halaby
Jenna Kawar ...
Rana Halaby
Suheila Muallem ...
Jamileh
...
Matt
Andrew Sannie ...
James
Daniel Boiteau ...
Mike
Jeff Button ...
Jason (as Jeff Sutton)
...
Bank Employee
Edit

Storyline

Muna, a single mother in Ramallah, has applied for a visa to the US. When it comes, her son Fadi, an excellent student, convinces her they should go. After an incident at customs begins their exile badly, they join Muna's sister and family in Illinois. Muna needs a job: although she has two degrees and 15 years' experience in banking, she settles for work at White Castle, telling the family her job's at a nearby bank. It's spring, 2003, and the US invades Iraq. While friends come from unlikely places, Fadi meets prejudice at school. How he'll respond to it and to American youth culture and how Muna will sort things out with her family are the rest of the story. Tragedy or hope? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Serving up the American Dream. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief drug use involving teens, and some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

17 June 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Amerrika  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$61,176 (USA) (18 September 2009)

Gross:

$622,164 (USA) (15 January 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film directing debut of Cherien Dabis. See more »

Soundtracks

My Pain
Written by David Hilker, John Costello, Jeffrey A. Freundlich
Performed by 'Goldie (II)
Published by Music Whirled Publishing (BMI)
Courtesy of Wild Whirled Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A considered view of current American sentiment regarding immigration
23 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This very moving 2009 film written and directed by Cherien Dabis could hardly be more timely, what with the current Immigration issues in filibuster in Washington and entry into the land of hope and liberty, so long a dream for many, now a country under close surveillance of individual privacy. This is a film, simple on the surface, but one with a significant message that would benefit all to watch and digest.

The story opens in Palestine. After her husband divorces her for a slimmer woman, Muna Farah (Nisreen Faour) lives with her cranky mother and her excellent student son Fadi (Melkar Muallem) in an unnumbered house in Bethlehem. Frustrated by the constant need to cross through insulting armed checkpoints as Muna goes to her bank job and Fadi goes to school, they apply for a visa to escape the Palestinian problems with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois where Muna's sister Raghda (the always brilliant Hiam Abbass) and her physician husband Nabeel (Yussuf Abu-Warda) live with their daughters. After one last treachery at customs (where Muna's life savings are confiscated) the two arrive in America. Muna is unable to find work in a bank but is secretly employed in a hamburger joint, befriended by fellow worker, high school dropout Matt (Brodie Sanderson). Fadi gets into school but is immediately ostracized by crude thoughtless students for being foreign and therefore a 'terrorist'. Meanwhile Raghda and Nabeel begin to sink into debt when Saddam Hussein is conquered in the Iraqi war and public sentiment is against all Arab speaking peoples. Fadi eventually fights back when the prejudiced students cause an accident for his mother and is arrested for assault, Muna's 'low class' employment is discovered, but when all looks grim the isolated family is befriended by a friendly Polish Jew educator Stan Novatski (Joseph Ziegler), by Matt, and by a worker in the bank that couldn't hire Muna. At least the spirit of a few can intervene to alter Muna and Farid's view of their new home.

Writer/Director Dabis based this story on her family's memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. It is a potentially painful story to experience, but Dabis fills the dialogue with enough good natured humor that the point of the film is made without excessive preaching yet enough of the realities immigrants from the Middle East face to make the film unforgettable. Excellent performances from a fine cast.

Grady Harp


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