Review: The True Story of a Texas Town

April 23, 2009  

By Kamille Carlisle

American Violet, a film currently playing at the Angelika, is an intriguing portrayal of a true story about a small town in Texas that was plagued by a crooked District Attorney who indicted many of the town’s poor African-Americans on drug charges for profit.

The film, set in Melody, TX in 2000, revolves around the case of Dee Roberts, played by Nicole Beharie, who was a young mother of four, wrongfully taken into custody for selling narcotics in a school zone. With the help of the ACLU and the town’s local attorney, she risked everything and sued the domineering D.A., played by Michael O’Keefe, changing Texas’ policy on indictments.

It was a truly gripping story about the role of race in the small southern town and the courage of a woman who did not want to plead guilty to avoid a prison sentence. Her integrity saved many blacks in her community from wrongful sentences.

The independent film, directed by Tim Disney and written by Bill Haney, does an effective job of relaying the compelling message of the story. The acting in the film is generally decent, better at some points than others, but overall, I was drawn in and invested into Dee Roberts’ struggle.

The film is definitely worth seeing, especially for anyone with interest in how a real change was made in the Texas justice system.

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13 Responses to “Review: The True Story of a Texas Town”

  1. david on October 13th, 2009 10:29 pm

    these dates seem like they should read 1950′s but for this kind of system to be in place in the year 2000 tell what this country is all about. Having a black president won’t begin to change these bottom feeding practices

  2. Renea on October 21st, 2009 10:06 am

    I think the movie is AWSOME!!!!!

    I am deeply sadden to see that we haven’t come very far that this crap could still be going on in AMERICA??? OMG To think arretsed never told the charge? never told your rights? just thrown in jsil like a animal and then told to give your life up and it is all a LIE?? This is something i hope every black women and man get to see, just so they don’t forget that around the corner there is still LOTS of Becketts.. I pray for our Black President he has shown ALL that YES YOU CAN.

  3. Kerri on October 24th, 2009 5:13 pm

    I just watched the movie; it is painful to grasp that something of this caliber could happen in this day and age. Generally, we would like to think that blunt racism is over. There are several diverse cultures; accept it. One thing is and will always be true, our blood is the same ‘red”. Will this ever end?

  4. brigette on May 11th, 2010 2:33 pm

    I can not believe what i saw. I just viewed the movie american violet. unbelievable! why is benett still da? he is a racist?

  5. jackie on May 23rd, 2010 10:59 pm

    I can believe that they re-elect that racist back in offices, I would have never voted for him, and no one could convince me to do so. Not only that I am glad she did not take the plea bargin, to go in prison away from her daughter, in that movie her mother did not know best, amen

  6. Zelma on June 4th, 2010 1:38 am

    What I know for sure is you reap what you sow!! It just shows you that the people of Melody Texas are racist to re-elect this DA, really sorrowful.

  7. texasnyc on July 10th, 2010 4:26 am

    thank you to the real Dee Roberts and all the people who continue to fight injustice.

  8. SAD2C on September 10th, 2010 2:32 pm

    I just watch this movie and it hurts to see that things still haven’t change.

  9. sheryl tademy on October 24th, 2010 2:59 pm

    1960?s or 2010 it’s all the same in this country. small towns feel they can continue to do this type of thing because the country allows it and they know it. RACE PREDJUDICE is as a part of this country as the stars and stripes. there is nothing hateful in my comment what I wrote is no secret nor is it a lie it is a comment.

  10. veronica jones on January 20th, 2011 3:43 pm

    The movie is great and everyone can see that prejudice is still here. Not only against blacks but all race. Everyone better wake up because if the US still has prejudice think what other countries have for us. This is why we have so many wars and prejudice playes agreat part of it. It Seems to me that we the US have so much race problems that we are fighting against each other right here and soon other countries will!!! take over this country.

  11. Vicki on April 4th, 2011 1:08 am

    Just watched American Violet, alot of posters already commented on what I wanted to say. I am so proud of that young woman for the courage she has, what an inspiration she is. I am also shocked that Bekett just got away with it. All I have to say is speak up even if you are the only one in a crowd and the people around you are making racist jokes let it be KNOWN by YOU that it is unacceptable, even though I am white I think I am a little of all mixed into one we are all the same and there is good and bad in every culture. Be the change you want to see in the world, I doubt I will live long enough to ever see it. Such a slow progress and how ignorant the human race really is, maybe my grandchildren will see us all come together one day. I am also really curious if that lawyer that kept his mouth shut about those monsters that killed the guy in the bathroom ever went to trial and finally convicted them?

  12. Tanisha on May 20th, 2011 2:45 pm

    The south will always be just that….the dirty south. Truly, it is troubling to see such behavior in existence in current times; however, it is not unbelievable. Change is simply to broad and bold for many to make an earnest attempt to understand or embrace the concept of diversity. It is sad to say, but I believe racism, division and the belief that one race is superior to another is America. “United States” is a form of hypocrisy.

  13. 3rd eye da poet on June 26th, 2011 2:43 am

    This “Take over” of America From the natives and thee import of African is America’s ole glory beginning. Thee institution of slavery Had/has rules of laws in order for it 2 have been & remain successful. Racism the main ingredient of thee institution was and still is a rule of law no matter how big or small a city or town may be. North south east or west for one 2 be and remain successful one must build on what made them successful. So here it will always be reason being many people have become very wealthy and rich thru racism as this movie has shown us that this is thru. America as we know it hand picked the 1st African as it’s president. Racism is for ever evident.
    Plantation 2 the ghetto projects…..America’s successful progress; as this country claims 2b thee best. My 2 cents off my chest……….Dee Jah Bless