Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
Watch On
  1. An artlessly powerful performance by newcomer Nicole Behaire anchors American Violet.
  2. 75
    American Violet, it's true, is not blazingly original cinema. Tim Disney's direction and the screenplay by Bill Haney are meat and potatoes, making this story clear, direct and righteous.
  3. A torn-from-the-headlines tale of institutional racism and injustice in the Lone Star State of not-so-long-ago, American Violet might not be subtle, but it's certainly powerful.
  4. An ideal movie for an ideal time in America.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dee is an engaging, admirable lead character, and the striking, petite Beharie, in only her second screen role, is a real winner, bringing energy and fortitude to a woman who easily could have joined the ranks of society's victims and losers.
  6. What sticks in my craw -- just a bit -- is the way the film doesn't fully trust the true story's inherent power.
  7. 70
    Packed with dialogue and issues, and it’s most provocative when dealing with the dangers of plea bargaining.
  8. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    The narrative is infused with chilling facts, and the filmmakers know how to build their case, but a drama demands more. We should have been immersed in Dee's wrenching journey, not just sitting it out on the sidelines.
  9. A message movie that's genuinely worth watching.
  10. 58
    It’s hard not to get swept up by the film's progressive zeal, but Disney doesn’t allow for much grey area.
  11. If you're in the mood for a liberal message movie in which the only surprise is no surprise, American Violet is the ticket.
  12. A docudrama with a good heart but a heavy hand.
  13. Earnest, mostly predictable and candidly didactic. That said, I'm glad it got made -- what's wrong with films that teach? -- and especially glad that a remarkably gifted newcomer named Nicole Beharie got to play the central role.
  14. The movie's staunchly liberal point of view extends to the 2000 presidential election, which is shown unfolding in the background. Al Gore's concession speech is used to suggest that the systemic racism in Melody is a symptom of a broader climate of injustice.
  15. 50
    American Violet feels less like life and unreasonably more like the movies.
  16. Reviewed by: Sura Wood
    Wears its righteous indignation and good intentions on its sleeve but its simplistic, heavy handed treatment of a complex issue gives it the weight of a contrived movie of the week melodrama.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. JayH.
    Oct 4, 2009
    Predictable but generally well done drama. Nicole Beharie is excellent in the lead role. Fair screenplay, it didn
  2. JuanaH.
    Apr 21, 2009
    I saw this movie and it really was an eyeopener as to how the justice system works for some. The young actress did a great job.