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American Violet

American Violet

In Theatres: 
Apr 17, 2009

Based on a true story – Dee Roberts (Nicole Beharie) is a 20-something African American single mom of four daughters trying to make it as a waitress living in the projects. She is wrongfully arrested for drug trafficking. But, with the help of an ACLU lawyer (Tim Blake Nelson) and the former assistant DA (Will Patton), Dee decides to not take a plea bargain in her case and instead to sue the DA and all of the officers involved in the raid.

It’s so hard to write a review for a movie that holds such a powerful message. How can I sit here and critique how well or not well they are doing on the acting, lighting and pace when the message is so harsh? I guess that’s my answer right there. I got so caught up in the story, the injustice and fight that this woman has to endure that I completely lost track that is was actors on a screen. Newcomer, Nicole Beharie, does an outstanding, almost Oscar worthy, performance. She really makes you feel what Dee is going through – from confusion to fear to pain to outrage. Her supporting cast (Alfre Woodard, Charles Dutton, Michael O’keefe) work well as foundations and catalysts. The story is simple but well written. It doesn’t take you on a senseless cushy ride but gets direct and to the point. Here’s what happened and it was wrong. You don’t need wide angled lens shots to get this real story told.

In my heart of hearts the movie made me ashamed to be white. It made me mad to think there are evil hate filled people out there today doing bad things to good people. This story didn’t take place in the turmoil of the 50’s, it took place only a few short years ago. It’s too bad that those very people that should see it won’t. A movie is good, damn good, when it can get you to feel and the think.

Go see it. Then talk about it.

Review by Sheree Cobernus