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American Violet
AMERICANVIOLET Onesheet small.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Disney
Produced by Bill Haney
Written by Bill Haney
Starring Nicole Beharie
Will Patton
Michael O'Keefe
Tim Blake Nelson
Xzibit
Charles S. Dutton
Alfre Woodard
Cinematography Steve Yedlin
Edited by Nancy Richardson
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Uncommon Productions
Release dates
  • August 29, 2008 (2008-08-29) (Telluride Film Festival)
  • April 17, 2009 (2009-04-17) (United States)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

American Violet is a 2008 drama film directed by Tim Disney and starring Nicole Beharie.[1] The story is based on Regina Kelly, a victim of Texas police drug enforcement tactics.[2]

Plot[edit]

Set in the midst of the 2000 presidential election, American Violet tells the story of a young mother named Dee Roberts (Nicole Beharie), a 24 year-old African-American single mother of four living in the town of Melody (based on Hearne, Texas, where the real incident took place). One day, while Dee is working a shift at the local diner, the powerful local district attorney (Michael O'Keefe) leads a group into the restaurant, sweeping Dee’s housing project. Police drag Dee from work in handcuffs and dump her in the women’s county prison. Indicted based on the uncorroborated word of a single and dubious police informant facing his own drug charges, Dee soon discovers she has been charged as a drug dealer.

Even though Dee has no prior drug record and no drugs were found on her in the raid or any subsequent searches, she is offered a hellish choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted felon or remain in prison and fight the charges thus, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence. Despite the urgings of her mother (Alfre Woodard), and with her freedom and the custody of her children at stake, she chooses to fight the district attorney. Dee works with an ACLU attorney (Tim Blake Nelson) and a former local narcotics officer (Will Patton) to take on the Texas justice system.[3]

Historical basis[edit]

The film is based on the civil rights lawsuit Regina Kelly v. John Paschall, filed on behalf of 15 African-American residents of Hearne, Texas who were indicted in November 2000 on drug charges after being rounded up in a series of drug sweeps the ACLU referred to as "paramilitary".[4] The lawsuit accused Paschall and the South Central Texas Narcotics Task Force of conducting racially motivated drug sweeps for more than 15 years in Hearne. In 2005, the ACLU and Robertson County settled and the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the individuals named in the suit, including Paschall.[5] The fictional Harmon County represents Robertson County, Texas, where John Paschall was defeated for reelection in 2012.[6] Regina Kelly continued to live in Hearne until 2009.[5]

Accuracy[edit]

The film stays fairly close to the details of the actual case, although it changes all the characters' names and takes some liberties with the case's transcripts, and other dialog. The progress of the case in the film proceeds as the real case did, including the reduction of bail for the defendant, the dropping of charges, and the eventual resolution of the case, although the film makes no mention of the financial portion of the settlement.[7] Some of the lawyers objected to the way they were portrayed.[7] In the film, the public defender urges the character named Dee Roberts to accept a plea bargain. The actual public defender claims he never tells innocent clients to take a plea.[7] Also, the actual lawyer that represented the District Attorney said the film was "more accurate than not," but objected to how his behavior was portrayed in the film during the deposition of the chief plaintiff. In the film, the character questions the plaintiff about her sexual history. The actual lawyer claims the questions were routine questions about her children and their fathers, and did not delve any further into the subject.[7] And the film shows the DA presiding over a hearing about custody of the defendant's children. Actually, the DA was present and spoke at the hearing, but did not determine custody.[7] The revelation during the film's climax, which led to the resolution of the case, was presented accurately, including the race of the deposing lawyer and the identity of the video witnesses, but the DA did not use the word "uppity" to describe the African American lawyer that was deposing him. And the actual legal team for the plaintiffs was much larger, consisting of about 25 lawyers, from a private law firm, working pro bono.[7]

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Clay Kane said that American Violet is "the first must-see film for African-Americans in 2009".[8] Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio reviewed the film, calling it "A gem of a movie. Timely, thought provoking, passionate, exciting. Everything you look for in a movie experience and more."[9] Rex Reed of The New York Observer said that the film is "a rich, vibrant narrative film guaranteed to move everyone who sees it".[10] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars and commented that "Nicole Beharie delivers a stunning performance."[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Violet — Please support Wikipedia.
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332051 videos foundNext > 

American Violet

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American Violet - Official Trailer

Release Date: 2008 Genre: Drama Cast: Nicole Beharie, Will Patton, Michael Beasley, Tim Blake Nelson Director: Tim Disney Writer: Bill Haney Studio: Samuel G...

American Violet - Exclusive Interviews

Released in theaters nationwide May 1, 2009, it is now available on DVD from Image Entertainment/One Village. Visit http://reelblack.com/wordpress/?p=679Best...

American Violet - clip "Parking Tickets"

Based on true events in the midst of the 2000 election, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts, a 24 year-old African American single mot...

Regina Kelly & Nicole Beharie - American Violet

Regina Kelly, the heroine and inspiration behind the feature film, American Violet, shares her motivation for fighting a racist and corrupt judicial system. ...

American Violet Trailer

Starring: Nicole Beharie, Tim Blake Nelson Director: Tim Disney Release: October 13, 2009 Shop Today http://bit.ly/2b4p8l.

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SXSW 2009 Film Trailer: American Violet

Based on true events in 2000, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts (critically hailed newcomer Nicole Beharie), an African American sin...

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American Violet

Nicole Beharie (The Express), Will Patton (Entrapment, The Postman), Charles Dutton (TV's Roc, Mimic) and Alfre Woodard (TV's Desperate Housewives, Primal Fear) star in this gripping true-life...

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220 news items

Pagosa Daily Post

Pagosa Daily Post
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:00:00 -0800

American Violet” is a true story of a black woman whose discrimination suit changes the laws of Texas. “Hyde Park on the Hudson” stars Bill Murray as FDR. “Kundun” is the true story of Tibet's Delai Lama. “The Negotiator” stars Samuel L. Jackson and ...
 
Huffington Post (blog)
Wed, 15 Apr 2009 16:54:19 -0700

American Violet is not a "horror movie." It has no monsters, zombies, or mass murderers in it. Just people. But the movie's powerful message on the role racism plays in the Drug War will likely horrify you just the same. So while American Violet is ...
 
Facing South (blog)
Fri, 08 May 2009 00:00:00 -0700

As the summer movie season approaches and the studios begin to roll out their blockbusters, complete with explosions, special effects and car chases, Samuel Goldwyn Films presents "American Violet," an eye-opening, thought provoking film featuring the ...
 
Beyond Chron
Fri, 29 May 2009 04:05:23 -0700

The ACLU aided the waitress and 26 other black low-income housing residents arrested in the raid in suing powerful Hearne D.A. John Paschall. That fight for innocence was adapted by director Roy Disney for the recent film “American Violet.” Kelly ...
 
The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com (blog)
Mon, 17 Nov 2008 00:00:00 -0800

With a new title and the backing of a new distributor, the civil-rights drama "American Violet" --which filmed for five weeks in New Orleans last year under the name "American Inquisition" -- is going national, with a March release targeted by L.A ...
 
The NEIU Independent
Mon, 06 Feb 2012 23:46:26 -0800

American Violet (2008) is a drama inspired by true events and directed by Tim Disney. While there wasn't an A-list of actors involved in this film, such names as Nicole Beharie, Will Patton, Michael O'Keefe, Alfre Woodard and Xzibit were featured ...
 
The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com (blog)
Fri, 05 Jun 2009 10:20:50 -0700

Oh, "American Violet" does almost everything well, from the direction by Tim Disney (a grandson of Roy O. Disney), to the performances, anchored by an impressive debut from Nicole Beharie. But it does nothing great, dragged down by an uninspired, and ...
 
San Francisco Chronicle
Thu, 30 Apr 2009 18:13:23 -0700

"American Violet" dramatizes Kelly's case, and does so in a way that will leave audiences applauding in their seats - and wondering how much of the film is true. Names are changed (Kelly becomes "Dee Roberts"), time passages are condensed and scenes ...
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