Amreeka (2009) Poster

Amreeka (2009)

  • Rate: 6.9/10 total 1,898 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 17 June 2009 (France)
  • Runtime: Argentina:96 min | USA:96 min
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Amreeka (2009)


Amreeka 2009tt1190858.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Amreeka (2009)
  • Rate: 6.9/10 total 1,898 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 17 June 2009 (France)
  • Runtime: Argentina:96 min | USA:96 min
  • Filming Location: Ramallah, Palestine
  • Gross: $622,164(USA)(17 January 2010)
  • Director: Cherien Dabis
  • Stars: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem and Alia Shawkat
  • Original Music By: Kareem Roustom (music)  
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: School | Illinois | Bank | White Castle | Customs

Writing Credits By:

  • Cherien Dabis (written by)

Known Trivia

  • There were no White Castles in Winnepeg, where it was filmed, so the White Castle company had the supplies for one trucked there. It never sold food, but people kept trying to order from it.

Plot: A drama centered on an immigrant single mother and her teenage son in small town Illinois. Full summary » |  »

Story: Muna, a single mother in Ramallah, has applied for a visa to the US. When it comes, her son Fadi, an excellent student, convinces her they should go. After an incident at customs begins their exile badly, they join Muna's sister and family in Illinois. Muna needs a job: although she has two degrees and 15 years' experience in banking, she settles for work at White Castle, telling the family her job's at a nearby bank. It's spring, 2003, and the US invades Iraq. While friends come from unlikely places, Fadi meets prejudice at school. How he'll respond to it and to American youth culture and how Muna will sort things out with her family are the rest of the story. Tragedy or hope?Written by <>  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Zain Al-Sabah known as co-producer
  • Paul Barkin known as producer
  • Cherien Dabis known as executive producer
  • Elizabeth Jarvis known as co-producer
  • Greg Keever known as executive producer
  • George Khleifi known as line producer: Palestine
  • Christina Piovesan known as producer
  • Sami Said known as assistant production supervisor
  • Alicia Sams known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Nisreen Faour known as Muna Farah
  • Melkar Muallem known as Fadi
  • Alia Shawkat known as Salma Halaby
  • Hiam Abbass known as Raghda Halaby
  • Yussuf Abu-Warda known as Nabeel Halaby
  • Joseph Ziegler known as Stan Novatski
  • Amer Hlehel known as Samer
  • Selena Haddad known as Lamis Halaby
  • Jenna Kawar known as Rana Halaby
  • Suheila Muallem known as Jamie
  • Brodie Sanderson known as Matt
  • Andrew Sannie known as James
  • Daniel Boiteau known as Mike
  • Jeff Button known as Jason
  • Miriam Smith known as Bank Employee
  • Mike O'Brien known as Bank Manager #1
  • Aaron Hughes known as Police Officer #1
  • Craig Matthews known as Police officer #2 (as Craig Matthews Barkhman)
  • Adham Mujama known as Young Israeli Soldier #1
  • Abed Abded El Latif known as Young Israeli Soldier #2
  • Tom Anniko known as Mr. Jones
  • Sayan S. known as Arab Bank Teller
  • Yacoub Ismail known as Belligerent Customer
  • Baha Salameh known as Cousin #1
  • Iman Aoun known as Muna's sister #1
  • Rafda Ghazala known as Muna's sister #2
  • Abdel Fatah Abu Brovri known as Ex-husband
  • Hussein Makhleh known as Angry Driver
  • Manal Hlaneh known as Young Wife
  • Will Woytowich known as US Airport Customs Official
  • Kristen Sawatzky known as Female Airport Official
  • Ernie Pitts known as Male Airport Officer
  • Magally Zelaya known as Grocery Store Cashier
  • Bradley Sawatzky known as Parkton Bank Manager
  • Adriana O'Neil known as Female Bank Manager
  • Valerie Williams known as White Castle Customer
  • Arne MacPherson known as Mike's Dad
  • Jordan Power known as Preppy Kid
  • Vanessa Mayberry known as Sammy
  • Glen Thompson known as Nelson



Supporting Department

Art Department:
  • Gary Barringer known as graphic artist
  • Gary Barringer known as set designer
  • Crystal Biloski known as assistant property master
  • David Macvicar known as property master




Production Companies:

  • First Generation Films
  • Alcina Pictures
  • Buffalo Gal Pictures
  • Levantine Entertainment (in association with)
  • Eagle Vision Media Group
  • Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ
  • Manitoba Film & Music
  • Maximum Film International
  • National Geographic Entertainment
  • R.A. Abdoo & Co.
  • Rotana Studios (in association with)
  • Showtime Arabia
  • Violet Jabara Foundation

Other Companies:

  • BoomGen Studios  publicity and marketing consulting
  • Film Finances Canada  completion guarantor
  • Idioms Film  local production services


  • Cinéart (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • E1 Films Canada (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • IFA (2010) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Cinemax (2010) (Hungary) (TV)
  • Cinéart (2009) (Belgium) (all media)
  • Dogwoof Pictures (2009) (UK) (all media)
  • Europa Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • Maximum Films (2009) (worldwide) (all media)
  • Memento Films (2009) (France) (all media)
  • National Geographic Entertainment (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • National Geographic International (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • National Geographic (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • Sundance (2010) (USA) (TV)
  • Twin Pics (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Release Date:
  • USA 17 January 2009 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • USA May 2009 (Seattle International Film Festival)
  • France 19 May 2009 (Cannes Film Festival)
  • USA June 2009 (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • France 17 June 2009
  • Ireland July 2009 (Galway Film Fleadh)
  • Belgium 12 August 2009
  • Germany September 2009 (Hamburg Film Festival)
  • USA 4 September 2009 (limited)
  • Finland 18 September 2009 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
  • Brazil 25 September 2009 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Switzerland 29 September 2009 (Zurich Film Festival)
  • Brazil 23 October 2009 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
  • Canada 30 October 2009 (limited)
  • Lebanon 5 November 2009 (limited)
  • Sweden 26 November 2009 (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • United Arab Emirates 12 December 2009 (Dubai International Film Festival)
  • Netherlands 24 December 2009
  • Spain 15 January 2010
  • Germany 7 February 2010 (Tübingen Arabisches Filmfestival)
  • Czech Republic 26 March 2010 (Febio Film Festival)
  • Hong Kong 26 March 2010 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
  • South Africa July 2010 (Durban International Film Festival)
  • Hungary 5 September 2010 (TV premiere)
  • Argentina 28 October 2010
  • UK 13 May 2011

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for brief drug use involving teens, and some language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. Amy from Chicago, IL USA
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    Knowing my deep interest in the subject of Palestine, a friend tippedme off to this movie. "Have you seen the trailer yet?" she asked. "Itlooks hilarious and beautiful, and poignant".

    She wasn't wrong.

    Over the last ten or twelve years, I have been gleaning as muchinformation and experience as I can about the Palestine/Israelquestion. I found this film to be an excellent, genuine portrayal ofnot only life in occupied Palestine, but also of what life is like forthose who choose to emigrate. It isn't a high-budget, high-productionvalue film, but it is sensitively written, superbly acted, and thecharacters stay with you long after you leave the theater.

    Not only that, but it is so heartening to be able to see a movie aboutArabs that portrays them simply as people instead of terrorists, and ishonest about the kind of racism they face in this country on a regularbasis. Lets see more of these kinds of films, please! Mabrook to allthose who worked on this gorgeous film!

  2. druid333-2 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    Back in the late 1980's early 1990's(especially during Operation DesertScam),there was a plague of anti Arab sentiment that enveloped theUnited States for a good part of the decade. Things did not fare anybetter in the wake of September 11th,2001,and only managed to get worsewith George W.Bush attacking Iraq. Hollywood,predictably got on thatvile band wagon & produced some pretty vile films,depicting all Arab &Arab/Americans as ruthless terrorists. Despite the fact that most ofthese attitudes still exist,Canada produced a wonderful film about aPalestinian woman & her son coming to America for a better life. Thisfilm is 'Amreeka' (the Arabic word for America). Cherien Dabis writes &directs,from her own original screenplay,a tale of finding home. MunaFarah is a single mother,dealing with the daily grind of living inoccupied Palestine (spot checks at the border are a regular way oflife,as well as the wall separating the Gaza strip from Isreal,wheremotorists have to contend with driving out of their way, just to get towork,etc.). With the money she has been saving for some time,Muna & herteen-aged son,Fadi,make it to America,where they live with hersister,Raghda & her family. Sounds like an idyllic picture,doesn't it?Guess again. Muna & Fadi have to deal with the growing racism againstArabs. Does she manage to rise above it all & make America her home?That's for you to find out. Nisreen Faour shines as Muna,a woman whohas been kicked around for far too long. Melkar Muallem earns kudos asher son,Fadi. Hiam Abbass is her sister, Raghda (a winningperformance). The rest of the cast turns in fine performances,as well.This is quality film making that deserves to be experienced,even ifyou're not Arab. Spoken in Arabic with English subtitles,and English.Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some salty language,some drug relatedmaterial & some mild violence

  3. hprockstar from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    This story follows a Middle-Eastern woman as she struggles living in anmilitary-occupied West Bank. When she receives notice that she has beenchosen in a lottery for a U.S. Green Card, she has to make the decisionwhether or not to uproot herself and her son for greener pastures.After making the decision to go, leaving her mother and brother behind,she realizes that life in Amreeka (America) is not all that she haddreamed it would be. Facing prejudice everywhere she turns, she makesother hard choices in trying to support her family…the son shebrought to America with her and the relatives that she is staying within the Midwest who are facing prejudice and struggling to make endsmeet. In the end, this film reminds the viewer of the importance offamily and the sacrifices we make for those we love.

  4. cl777 from Switzerland
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    I had read about Amreeka a few months ago and was eager to see it. I was pleasantly surprised as was Fabio at the realism of this film, the depth of the characters and the relevance and importance of the themes that are explored.The movie tells the tale of a single mother named Muna and her teenage son Fadi, who, tired of the oppression in occupied Palestine (road blocks, constant checks), seize an opportunity to move in with Muna’s sister and her husband in the United States.Dreaming of a better life, they are however bitterly disappointed. Muna, who previously worked in a bank, can only obtain a job flipping burgers at White Castle, a fact that she hides from her entire family. Her sister drops her off every day in front of a bank where Muna pretends to work. Her shame in her job is great yet her pride is too high to borrow money from somebody. She lives to provide a good life and education for her son and her extreme care and gentleness are very touching and endearing.The film follows Muna and Fadi’s hardships and difficulties and one wonders if they will be able to happily assimilate. Some anti-Arab sentiment is revealed throughout the film and this is a struggle for Muna as she fled her homeland in order to escape persecution only to find it again. Without trying to give too much away, the movie does end on a positive note.The acting is really superb. The entire cast does very well but Muna shines, and her sister stands out particularly as well. You really feel for what is happening and for the lives of the members of this family. This is a beautiful film that will stay with you. As the poster says, it’s a journey with a lot of heart.My rating: 7.5 Fabio: 7 Total: 14.5

  5. superlo from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    What happens when your life is turned upside down by your husbanddivorcing you for a slimmer, younger woman and walls are built aroundwhere you live adding hours every day to your commute to work and youspend every penny to keep your son in a private school? You take thefirst best opportunity that comes along to get out of that situation.Muna, a Palestinian single woman, does just that when she receives anoffer to relocate free to America. This begins the adventures andmisadventures of someone immigrating to America with the hopes andpromises of a better life. She lands in a small town in Illinois tolive (temporarily is the plan) with her sister and physician husbandand teenage children until she can establish herself and son. She hastwo degrees and has had professional experience in the work world so itshouldn'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 toAMREEKA and how easy it is to be misunderstood and to struggle to makea living no matter how hard you are willing to work. It is worthwatching by families whose children may be finding it difficult toaccept those who don't talk or dress or act just like us. Changingschools as an American teenager can be very difficult. Try coming fromanother country, especially one we see as an adversary. Highlyrecommend.

  6. throw99 from Angola
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    I seldom comment on movies here but felt compelled to comment on thisone. I say "not what you might expect" because I think a lot ofpeople's reactions to this film are going to be heavily influenced bypreconceptions about what this film is supposed to be "about." I can'tblame them; if I heard that this was "a film about an Arab family'sstruggles after immigrating the USA after September 11th," I'd probablygroan because I'd have certain expectations too. But this is not a"message" film, and if you go into it looking for messages, you'regoing to miss the point. Rather than political, this film is personal.You could call it simple, but it's not simplistic. Far from it; itrefuses to reduce the subtlety and nuance of life to overt messages. Ithink that an honest, objective viewing of this movie will reveal that,the "stereotypes" and "simplifications" that some reviewers are seeing,were brought in by the reviewers themselves. This is not a perfectfilm, but it has a lot more depth, beauty and truth than most familydramas, and certainly more than the didactic work one might expect.

  7. johnstonjames from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    I can see from some of the reviews that some people didn't like thisheart warming little film. that seems awfully hard. what's not to like?sure it's simplistic, but so many things about the heart and feelingsare. besides, it's very straight forward and makes some very goodpoints.

    the film benefits greatly from a excellent and touching performance byactress Nisreem Faour as the main protagonist Muna, who immigrates fromPalestine to Illinois here in Amreeka. the performance is based all onheart and the feeling functions rather than anything cerebral which iswhy it is so moving and special when so many actors over think theirroles to the point of rigid contrivance. Faour's performance just flowsnaturally,smoothly,and believably without any hint of falseness.

    politically there is nothing controversial about this film really.unless maybe you're Zionist extremist or someone with a psycho racistagenda. i think people on both sides are getting a little tired of theWest Bank being occupied to such an extent and of having thePalestinian people vilified all the time. this soft peddling littlefilm might just be the ticket to get people to lighten up. if they canlighten up enough to watch it.

  8. Chad Shiira from
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    Contrary to popular belief among the narrow-minded, not all Arabs areMuslims. Case and point: only one of the two female office workers,employees at a Palestinian bank, have their heads covered, in theopening scene of "Ameerka", a relevant film about the emigrants thatmakes some of us leery, still, eight years and counting after thatfateful day in September. Even if Muna(Nisreem Faour) was a Muslim, anddid wear a headscarf in compliance with Islamic law, would it make thisdivorced mother of one any less likable? Of course not. Not all Muslimsare terrorists, contrary to popular belief. By default, "Ameerka" is apolitical movie, but it doesn't have to be one; it's the people thatMuna and her son Fadi(Melkar Maleem) meet stateside, who make theirpresence a political matter. Despite having no outlying signifiers tocorrespond with their ethnicity, as if being Arab itself is supposed todenote one's religious affiliation in the first place, people prefiguretheir disposition, and treat them accordingly, with suspicion, withdisregard.

    At the outset of "Ameerka", the small Palestinian family is madeinstantly relatable in a sequence that establishes how close-knit Mniand Fadi are, which completely transcends their "otherness". When themother asks her son about his homework, having just picked the boy upfrom his private school, they could be American, but this parentalconcern is transformed by context and becomes a Palestinian scene, astheir intimacy is interrupted by the car's arrival at a checkpoint,ending any semblance of normality, in which the Israeli soldier goesabout his vehicle inspection. Once home, a house they share with thefamily matriarch, Muna quietly asks Fadi to get the tomatoes from thecar, reining her temper in while Fadi's grandmother complains about herdaughter's forgetfulness. Those tomatoes came from the produce market,a hole in the wall where Muna, recently divorced, had encountered herex-husband's new wife, who is both younger and skinnier, and arguably,prettier, than her. When Muna boards the plane to America with her son,she's carrying around a broken heart, not a bomb.

    The Farahs go to Illinois. That's where Muna's sister Raghda(HiamAbbass) and her family lives. It's also where Fadi got accepted to anexpensive school. Blissfully unaware of her own Americanization, Raghdapossesses an American's arrogance, talking about Palestine as if shestill knew her. Muna knows. She knows it's better to be a foreignerthan a prisoner. Muna corrects her older sister, who feels Palestinianbecause she shops at a Palestinian grocers, and can speak in her ownnative language without the cold stares of American housewives thatgreeted them at the supermarket. With enough English to get by, Munagoes job-hunting, and ends up serving burgers at White Castle, a lastresort to unemployment, after being turned away by a host ofprejudicial bank managers. The job embarrasses Muna, but she's ago-getter, so there's definitely a place for her in this country. WhenMuna's principal, a Polish-Jew(remember: Muna is Palestinian), drivesher back to work(after being called in for a conference over Fadi'sfisticuffs with his tormentor), he stays for lunch, after returning thehandbag she left behind in his car. As he eats the famous White Castlefare, she mops, but then he invites her to sit with him(remember: theprincipal is Jewish), because she's entitled to be there, like she andFadi are entitled to be in America. Muna has the right to dream of abetter life. Living paycheck to paycheck is not good enough for her.She sells a weight-loss drink, and later in "Ameerka", she slips on theliquid, the handiwork of Fadi's tormentor, who knocks an open can offthe White Castle counter. Flat on her back, that's where Muna might endup in this country, but she has a right to fail, and she has a right toget up, and try again.

  9. karterskreations
    30 Mar 2012, 1:39 pm

    This is a great film about immigrating to North America as a divorcedmother. The interactions between Mona (the mother) and Fadi (the son)are memorable; whether it be at the border at the occupied territories,in the US regarding his rebelliousness in school or confronting theattitude of US rural society.

    I just viewed this film and disagree that it is a stereotype. Maybe thereviewers have not taken a good look at "real life" in North America asa newly arrived immigrant.

    In this case, they are from occupied Palestine and immigrate exactlywhen the Bush administration declares war on Iraq. The town shuns them.No one is Iraqi, Palestine is occupied and war is on the way; so theson convinces her to leave when she receives unexpected news.

    A twist and tease every step of the way and the end is most unexpected!

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