(Scott Saltzman)


American Violet

Genre: Drama; Starring: Nicole Beharie, Michael O'Keefe, Will Patton, Alfre Woodard; Director: Tim Disney; Author: Bill Haney; Release Date Wide: 04/17/2009; Runtime (in minutes): 102; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

An artlessly powerful performance by newcomer Nicole Behaire anchors American Violet, an instructive, sturdily built drama based on a true story worth teaching: In 2001, an African-American single mother in Texas is falsely accused of drug-dealing during a housing-project raid. Pressured to plead guilty in a plea bargain by a racist District Attorney (O?Keefe), she chooses instead to file a discrimination suit with support from a northerner ACLU lawyer (Nelson) and a local lawyer (Patton). Here’s a case of activist screenwriting where didacticism in the defense of justice is no vice. B+

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Originally posted April 15 2009 — 12:00 AM EDT

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