Synopsis by Nathan Southern
A Palestinian single mother and her son resettle in the American Midwest with bittersweet results, in first-time director Cherien Dabis' gentle fish-out-of-water comedy drama Amreeka. Nisreen Faour stars as divorcée Mouna, a resident of the West Bank who works as a local bank manager while raising her 16-year-old son, Fadi (Melkar Muallem), on the side. Each day, the two must put their lives in jeopardy by driving through potentially lethal Middle Eastern checkpoints to accomplish their daily business, but their situation changes dramatically when Mouna finally succeeds at getting a green card. The two fly from Jerusalem to Chicago, but get a bitter taste of the reality behind the American dream when the customs department claims the money that Mouna wrapped in a cookie tin, leaving her penniless. The nascent immigrants promptly move in with Mouna's sister, Raghda (Hiam Abbass of Lemon Tree), and her family, and Mouna sets about trying to find a bank job in the U.S. that is equivalent to her old position at home; unfortunately, this proves impossible and she ends up serving "sliders" at a White Castle fast food franchise and earning minimum wage. Meanwhile, Fadi begins attending a local high school and runs headfirst into not-so-subtle racism and the imminent threat of nativistic violence.
divorce, immigrant, Palestinian [nationality]