In America

LetterboxD review link

In America has been on my list of films to see ever since I read Roger Ebert’s review of it years ago. I found it streaming on HBO recently and was happy to catch up with it.

This film is a great depiction of how important family is for immigrants. When you first arrive in a new country, it’s all you have. Even in a big, busy, place like New York City, siblings have only each other. Parents only have each other. Families only have each other, in many ways. But then, slowly, you start expanding your family. You make relationships with your neighbors. Maybe people you work with, or go to school with. And after a while, you look around and your family is much bigger than the one you came with.

I particularly enjoyed watching this film as a non-white immigrant to the US, who settled not in an urban place like NYC but in the exurban Midwest. The immigrant experience is universal and personal, in America, and I imagine, around the world.

The second half of the film did buckle under the weight of its own sanctimony, a bit, but it’s got enough good stuff to rise above the fray, especially for films about complicated issues like race, poverty and communalism from the early 2000s.