Synopsis & Film Details

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.

Directed by Cherien Dabis, an international co-production.
USA, 2009, 35mm
96 minutes, PG-13

Critic Reviews

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

Cherien Dabis’s “Amreeka” stands alongside “The Visitor” and “Maria Full of Grace” as one of the most accomplished recent films about a non·European immigrant coming to the United States.

Stephen Holden, New York Times

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