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Amreeka (2009)

Yussuf Abu-Warda , Hiam Abbass , Cherien Dabis  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yussuf Abu-Warda, Hiam Abbass, Jeff Sutton, Alia Shawkat, Amer Hlehel
  • Directors: Cherien Dabis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002T921C0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,986 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Amreeka" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle. Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home. Amreeka recalls Dabis's family's memories of their lives in rural America during the first Iraq War. The film stars Haifa-trained actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, and Melkar Muallen plays her 16-year-old son, Fadi. Also in the cast are Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler. Written and directed by Cherien Dabis, Amreeka was produced by Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin. Alicia Sams, Dabis and Gregory Keever were executive producers; Liz Jarvis and Al-Zain Al-Sabah were co-producers. Amreeka made its world premiere in dramatic competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and played as Opening Night of New Directors/New Films, a co-presentation of The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. Amreeka made its debut internationally in Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Accurate July 25, 2010
For someone who grew up in the West Bank and moved to Illinois, I was amazed at how accurate this film is and how it included so many little details that were right on the money. This movie was able to capture so many emotions and the humanity of this entire experience. Honestly, I have never seen anything so close to my experience. This essentially is the story of my life. This accurately describes my experience and journey from the West Bank to Chicago.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece October 31, 2009
"Amreeka" is a masterpiece: heartbreaking, moving, complex, fierce, tender. Extraordinary writing, sublime acting, and haunting visual and aural landscapes. This work brings to one of the most tragic situations in contemporary history a most sophisticated, generous moral imagination: outrage, understanding, anguish, humor.

"Amreeka" will transform every viewer's percepts. Please see it.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars every high school teacher should see this! August 4, 2010
As there is so little responsible, empathic depictions of Arabs and especially Palestinians in the current media, this movie is a breath of fresh air. It accurately and endearingly shows the adjustment struggle of an Arab family to North America. I thought the high school scenes were poignant reminders of how high school classes need to be taught as if they were representations of the outside/"real" world - not free for all zones where you can say anything and not be held responsible! Everyone needs to learn "civilised" behavior,or else we all pay the consequences. I liked that they spoke real Arabic in Amreeka - did you know that alot of Hollywood Arabic is just gobeltygook? How disrespectful! Maybe we can start actually seeing Arabs in film as people, and not the stereotype that gives us permission to project our disowned feelings onto - what a concept! This movie moves us forward!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Funny and Genuine, but Ends Abruptly July 31, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a movie about a middle-aged woman from Palestine whose husband has abandoned her and their teenage son. Realizing that her working life in Palestine is a dead-end, and worrying about her son's prospects for the future, she decides to move to America. Most of the movie is spent following the main character's life in the United States.

The characters are absolutely believable. Bravo to the actors, old and young, who brought these characters to life. The writing avoids the obvious stereotypes which plague Hollywood productions, and provides a rich mixture of humor and drama. Obviously, the situation in Palestine is a foundation for this movie, but other themes are well-explored: being middle-aged and underestimated by others, the tribulations of adolescence, and the difficulties faced by anyone who finds themselves in a new homeland.

The one failing of this movie (and the only thing preventing me from giving it 5 stars) is that its plot has a beginning and a middle, but no end. The final scene fades to black, as though we might tune in next week to find out what happens next, but then... the credits roll.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMREEKA THE BEAUTIFUL!! July 4, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What happens when your life is turned upside down by your husband divorcing you for a slimmer, younger woman and walls are built around where you live adding hours every day to your commute to work and you spend every penny to keep your son in a private school? You take the first best opportunity that comes along to get out of that situation. Muna, a Palestinian single woman, does just that when she receives an offer to relocate free to America. This begins the adventures and misadventures of someone immigrating to America with the hopes and promises of a better life. She lands in a small town in Illinois to live (temporarily is the plan) with her sister and physician husband and teenage children until she can establish herself and son. She has two degrees and has had professional experience in the work world so it shouldn't take long - wrong! Told with humor as well as heartbreak (it's just after 9/11and anyone from the Middle East is the enemy), this National Geographic film is a reminder of why people still come to AMREEKA and how easy it is to be misunderstood and to struggle to make a living no matter how hard you are willing to work. It is worth watching by families whose children may be finding it difficult to accept those who don't talk or dress or act just like us. Changing schools as an American teenager can be very difficult. Try coming from another country, especially one we see as an adversary. Highly recommend.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Palestinian immigrant in Bush-Cheney America March 2, 2010
Amreeka is a charming film about the modern Arab immigrant experience. Built around a cast of well imagined and sensitively portrayed characters and set in the initial days of the US invasion of Iraq, it follows a Palestinian mother and her teenage son as they learn to sort through the problems typical of many immigrants - loss of a support network, dependence on locals or established immigrants, the inability to transfer qualifications and skills, and indifference or even hostility from members of the host culture. The experience is exacerbated in Amreeka by the ethnic chauvinism fomented and unleashed in the run-up to the Bush-Cheney invasion - a threatening note left in a mailbox, canceled contracts, disappearing customers, as well as verbal and physical intimidation. Bitter as that experience was, and as tempting as it may have been to lecture, the director never falls into polemicizing but stays focused on the characters. One of the mother's unexpected sources of friendship and help in navigating her new world is a Polish Jew. Practically speaking a one-woman production from writer-director Cherien Dabis, Amreeka is a lovely film that falls flat only in the end. It seems the story does not so much reach a conclusion as it does to simply end, leaving you with the impression there may have been more to tell.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars “We have every right to be here!”
“Amreeka” (2009 release; 97 min.) brings the story of Muna, a divorced Palestinian Christian mother raising her teenage son Fadi. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul Allaer
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt, vivid story about people I wish I knew.
This is a lovely, vivid story about a Palestinian divorcee and her son, who move to Illinois (where her sister and her family are already living). Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. Combs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great instructional film
This is a great film that I used in an Intercultural studies class. It portrays vividly the new immigrant struggle with two cultural identities, often in significant conflict with... Read more
Published 3 months ago by vipattie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie.
More people need to know about this movie. I love films shot in other countries and are totally authentic in their portrayal. This movie raises the bar. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amy M Petery
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
This film is well done and very entertaining. Though it opts for a conventional happy ending, it still authentically depicts some of the challenges that Arab immigrants face.
Published 9 months ago by Elsie
5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this movie
An absolutely wonderful movie. It is very realistic and provokes a sense of humor to surface amidst a really tense political situation in the middle east.
Published 10 months ago by NN
5.0 out of 5 stars A Palestinian Mother Brings Her Son To Rural Illinois
They escape the problems in Palestine only to encounter different problems in the US.
This film was released by National Geographic and was entered at Sundance 2009 and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Zarathustra
3.0 out of 5 stars Short-seeing, American style
A sixteen year old boy of Betlehem won a place at the Indiana's college (it's understood, his US-receding aunty was linked somehow to this school), and moves with mother to the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Michael Kerjman
5.0 out of 5 stars Is America still the land of the free?
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... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Grady Harp
4.0 out of 5 stars Slice-of-life
Slice-of-life drama about a middle-aged divorcee and her teenaged son who flee the hassles and oppressions of occupied Palestine to live with relatives in rural Illinois. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Allen Smalling
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Topic From this Discussion
I watched the movie with English as the spoken language. I'm not sure if under dvd options you could choose English subtitles or not. Good luck.
May 18, 2010 by bella7 |  See all 3 posts
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