Movie Review: ‘American Violet’

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, April 17, 2009 at 12:00 am.

american_violetSummary: Based on a true story during the 2000 Gore-Bush election, Dee Roberts and many people in her community are arrested on random drugs charges. Roberts must prove her innocence while putting the life of her and her family at risk.

Review: American Violet is one of those films that you just know is going to be a good movie from the previews. It’s a story with a purpose, thoughtfulness and stays with you regardless of your race or socioeconomic background. In addition, it’s a haunting story that could happen to anyone if you do not live in a privileged neighborhood. Written and directed by Bill Haney, the movie is delivered with a gritty but sharp independent feel. No big special effects, no $10 million paid actors, no elaborate sets—just a solid script and creators who care about the story.

While a deeply important film, who hasn’t heard of racism and police corruption in Black neighborhoods? There is nothing new about that. But, quite effectively, American Violet manages to present racism in a contemporary way, which resonates well with this generation, proving that you can lose your freedom regardless if there are tangible chains and shackles.

Not enough can be said about the actors in the film. Xzibit, for the first time, proves he is a true actor. Anthony Mackie is always flawless, especially in the small role of a mentally disable convict. Alfre Woodard’s standard is theatrical brilliance so she effortlessly illuminated edge and even humor, which was needed for such a heavy film. Julliard-trained Nicole Beharie sets fire to the screen with her powerful presence and accessible passion. If 2008 was Taraji P. Henson’s year, 2009 might be Nicole Beharie’s year.

While the movie is amazing, some of the direction left the viewer wanting more. Many of the scenes ended too quickly. For example, when Beharie’s character is fired from yet another job, we never saw the firing. Scenes like this would’ve been great to see and give the audience stronger moments. There are times when American Violet needed more impact. Nonetheless, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that an audience is so happy with a film that they want to know more.

American Violet is the first must-see film for African Americans in 2009. While we often complain about not enough dramatic movies about Black life—here it is. 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 and even some humor. The best non-documentary movie I have seen this year.

American Violet opens in select cities today and nationwide on May 1st.

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Comments

klo Said on

I saw this movie. It is so powerful and remarkable!!! I will go an see this again and tell all my friends. Nicole did an excellent job!! I can’t wait to see more movies from her.



Nesley Filsaime Said on

Good Afternoon! Movie Review: American Violet



Slim Hunz Jr Said on

Good Afternoon! Movie Review



Rellz Said on

i went to see this movie and it was sold out in 2 theatres…i was so upset! I know it is a powerful movie, and i HAVE to see it!

http://www.twitter.com/rellzny



dimples Said on

whatz gud bet this movie sounds gud itz a must see…yea diggz



David Said on

I saw this movie at the Phoenix Film Festival and thought it was great. It was so moving, I had to go and see it a second time. I told my friends in Atlanta to go and see it, during the Atlanta Film Festival.



BlackWomenBlowTheTrumpet Said on

I saw the movie last weekend and I felt that it was INCREDIBLY patronizing to black women.

I can’t imagine that ANY black women will leave the movie theatre feeling inspired. I wrote a review about this film to explain why at my own blog:
blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com

In my opinion, this albatross DESERVES to bomb at the box office!

Black women are sick and tired of negative stereotypes being TOSSED UP in our faces as “the black experience”. Regina Kelly does not represent all black women… all black women are not teen mothers…all black women are not uneducated…all black women are not without goals in life…all black women are not focused on merely survival… all black women do not make the choices Regina Kelly made…

It is an insult for white film makers to ASSUME that black women would see themselves in Regina Kelly.



Patricia Stevenson Said on

It is a shame that I heard about this flick through word of mouth. May I ask why??? Where does the responsibility lie to tell the whole world about Black films that have great potential??? Spread the word about WHERE to see the film. Keep up the knowledgeable and true stories everyone needs to care about.
Thank you in advance.



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