The good humor, generosity, and love Dabis bestows on her characters in this assured first feature are uniquely hers -- the mark of a talent to watch
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Stands as one of the most accomplished recent films about a non-European immigrant coming to the United States.
Stephen Holden - New York Times
Not a subtle film, but an attractive, affecting one.
Philip French - Guardian [UK]
The political issues are a little heavy handed but the story - partly drawn from the director's own experience - works best when it focuses on the personal.
Steve Rose - Guardian [UK]
This slice of American life, as seen through the eyes of Palestinian immigrants, is nuanced, engaging and authentically observed.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
This sensitively made movie is more than dim Americans making terrorist jokes. It's one of the richer movies you're likely to see about average Arabs in America.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
The thriving subgenre of immigrant displacement dramedy gets a confident new spin from Cherien Dabis.
Ella Taylor - Village Voice
Writer-director Cherien Dabis paints a gentle, often wry picture of human resilience, and Faour and Muallen give solid performances, but there are a few too many by-the-numbers moments.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Most important, Mr. Dabis knows that home -- what a fraught place! -- is, in equal measures, where the hurt is and where the heart is.
Joanne Kaufman - Wall Street Journal
You keep rooting for these characters, even as the plot takes a series of broad and overly familiar turns.
Christopher Kelly - Dallas Morning News
Does it occur to xenophobic Americans that almost all immigrants, like their own ancestors, came here because they admire the United States? Someone please explain that to Lou Dobbs.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Writer-director Cherien Dabis too easily resolves or dismisses the characters' problems, making way for an upbeat ending.
Andrea Gronvall - Chicago Reader
Although the drama heads on a predictable course, Faour brings intelligence and humor to her performance and Muallem, as the smart adolescent turned surly and scared, is likewise sharp.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Director Cherien Dabis' debut feature is a surprising, humorous, moving and very human story about a Palestinian family's emigration to Illinois on the eve of the Iraq war.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
A portrait of our times painted from an immigrant's mirror, Amreeka should be seen by every American.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A good-hearted film about the resilience of the human spirit.
Richard Nilsen - Arizona Republic
A culture-clash dramedy whose background in Middle-East conflict is leavened with vibrant energy, balanced politics and droll humor by first-time feature director Cherien Dabis.
Rob Nelson - Variety
The immigrant experience gets a fresh, post- 9/11 Palestinian spin in Amreeka, a film that has all the familiar ingredients but is such a well-acted, winning re-combination of those that we see them with fresh eyes.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Amreeka makes its points with gentle humour and engaging performances -- especially Faour, who makes Muna so likeable it's impossible not to cross your fingers and hope her luck is about to change.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
A feel-good comedy about a Palestinian mother who moves to rural Illinois with her teenaged son, Amreeka is a kind of stealth political film that confronts issues of ethnic tension and American xenophobia.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
This piquant film brings a keen and serious eye as well as that feeling for affectionate human comedy to this fraught situation, smartly avoiding both stridency and sentimentality in the process -- it's an elegant balancing act.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Enjoyable but uneven, Amreeka is an unlikely comic take on the plight of the displaced, at home and abroad.
Sophie Ivan - Film4
It sounds heavygoing but if anything Amreeka is a little too sweet and cosy for its own good.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
In attempt to sustain momentum, the film begins to lurch from comic-book realism to join-the-dots melodrama.
Tom Seymour - Little White Lies
The film is more gentle than harsh, relying on a very fine performance from the charming Faour and settings in Palestine and Illinois that seem very real.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
This is a vulnerable but proud woman who we can't help but like.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
It's charming and laidback, preferring wry, compassionate humour to politicking.
Simon Kinnear - Total Film
You'll end up baffled that a film built on such shaky foundations can end up being so impossibly sweet.
David Jenkins - Time Out
Likeable but lightweight, Dabis' emigration tale plays largely for laughs, sapping some of the drama from the storyline.
David Parkinson - Empire Magazine
A winning tale of battling racism and prejudice in multi-cultural America.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
A giant bland-fest, unleashing a misfiring charm offensive in place of strong characterisation or a story that has a destination in mind.
Steve Newall - Flicks.co.nz
It's funny, it's politically charged, it's deeply felt, and director Cherien Dabis keeps skillful control over all of these aspects to maintain balance.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
Amreeka is only one of a number of recent immigrant tales to hit theaters, but with its blend of sweet humor and topical relevance, it's one of the more compelling -- and surprising -- in some time.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Dabis wisely keeps her film firmly grounded in the personal and specific...focusing on the experiences of one family which she makes us care about.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
It's the humanity of the work that makes it resonate and the insight into a culture closed to most Australians that makes it illuminating
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Writer director Cherien Dabis writes about what she knows about being a stranger in a new land: the difficulties, the isolation, the conflicts, the misunderstandings. The result is a heartfelt and engaging film
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
You can try to resist it, but by the time Cherien Dabis' writing/directing effort is over, you'll be completely sucked in.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Amreeka is a sweet-natured film about the experiences of a Palestinian woman and her teenage son when they emigrate to Illinois.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
The movie is insightful in its depiction of Palestinian suffering and the insensitivity of the United States. Faour is very appealing in the lead role, making great use of her hope-filled eyes.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
Director-writer Cherien Dabis drew the story from life..., and the script is brimming with tiny details that lend it authenticity.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
The movie is honest about the way it depicts family relationships and racial prejudices. A believable and fresh-faced cast also helps in that regard.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
As much as I enjoyed spending time with these characters, it's hard not to bristle at the overall After-School Special vibe.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Faour, in an Oscar-worthy performance, renders Muna in shades of love and hope.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
The political ironies are obvious, and the American section is predictable, but Amreeka is winning all the same, because of the ensemble, and the humanism of its first-time filmmaker.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
As poignant as it is buoyant.
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo - Boxoffice Magazine
An earnest comedy-drama, which covers familiar territory but in an unpretentious, and so reasonably pleasant fashion.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
For the most part, Dabis and her actors charm their way through this material, finding absurdist humor even in the darkest moments.
John Hartl - Seattle Times
...a small budget, sincere little film that has its heart in the right place.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
With Amreeka, writer/director Cherien Dabiscertainly doesn't reinvent the genre, making it feel newborn, but with warmth and skill, and a dash of wit, she makes an old trope feel fresh.
Brandon Judell - CultureCatch
This could be rough going, but Cherien Dabis' Amreeka tells this immigrants' tale with some humor and only a dash of political correctness.
Walter V. Addiego - San Francisco Chronicle
A fine film with much on its mind, and while suffering from occasional missteps, it holds together as a terrific expression of worry and relocation, inspecting the less illuminated side of the American Dream.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
This is the type of film that used to marketed by the early Weinstein Miramax, a crowd pleaser whose foreign origin and assured direction make it seem like art for the masses.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The film takes on a loaded subject, strips it of its political ramifications and draws out the common humanity underwriting even the most divisive of hot button issues.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Writer/director Cherien Dabis's Sundance Festival entry digresses from a gritty West Bank drama to a stagy middle-American melodrama.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
- National Post
uneven -- but also smart and impressingly earnest
Norm Schrager - Filmcritic.com
It's one of those movies that plays to the cheap seats, making the racism bigger, the assimilation process rougher, and the family squabbles extra-broad, lest viewers miss the point.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Amreeka isn't great, but it's a relief when a movie that touches on America's post-9/11 unease regarding Muslims and the Arab world isn't full of condemnation.
Armond White - New York Press
As it stands, the movie just serves up another warmed-over Ellis Island rehash.
Stephen Garrett - Time Out New York
Charming, poignant story with 3-dimensional characters as the familiar struggle for economic and cultural survival is updated for Arabs, centered by a zaftig force of nature.
Nora Lee Mandel - Film-Forward.com
A remarkably engaging, observant approach to a prickly situation
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
When most filmmakers want to say something important about cultural conflicts, they labor to bring tears to our eyes. Dabis, by contrast, makes us laugh at ourselves and, in turn, each other.
Scott Foundas - L.A. Weekly
The particular protagonist, her situation, and the tale's tone distinguish the modest and enjoyable but artistically mediocre Amreeka from a growing body of border films about immigrants coming to America.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Dabis is certainly to be praised for her lightness of touch, filling many of her scenes with a humour often lacking from films addressing issues of migration.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
The end result isn't a relaxed and incantatory celebration of cross-cultural friction that finds emotional and spiritual resonance in the mundane, a la The Secret of the Grain, but a sitcomish harangue.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
Uplifting story of a resilient Palestinian mother and her son struggling to make a new life in America: hope is the tonic that keeps her going and you will find yourself cheering her on every step of the way
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
There's nothing not to like about this charming, lovely little comedy.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com