‘Amira & Sam’ Review

By Desiree Williams
Amira & Sam is a 2014 drama directed by Sean Mullin. Sam is an army veteran recently returned to the United States, and hopes to assimilate back into the culture. The back-story explains that he returned from overseas to New York City in 2008 where he discovered an old army friend, Bassam, and was also introduced to his niece, Amira, both of whom are Iraqi immigrants. The movie follows Sam’s struggle to integrate into the U.S. once again and his journey to earn Amira’s heart before she is deported.
     Overall, I found this movie to be rather simple and unexciting for the context in which it is written. With an army veteran and an immigrant as the main characters, there are many avenues a director could have travelled to create an enticing movie. However, Sean Mullin decided to take an uncomplicated path with little action and suspense. Because of this, the dialogue between the characters is extremely simple. The script does not hold much substance, so I found it difficult to keep focused on the movie.

For example, there is little to no introduction to the characters or their storyline, so the viewer watches a large portion of the movie with very little knowledge to make sense of the plot. The storyline does not allow for much surprise or excitement, which leads to a more monotonous film. However, comedic moments bring attention back to the action. Comedy act as an underlying current through the script. It strengthens the tie between Amira and Sam and it is through comedy that Sam gains confidence once again and feels accepted. Although the comedic quips are geared towards dry comedy, they are the redeeming quality that snaps the viewer back into Sam and Amira’s world.

     The acting is convincing and intriguing, yet the characters lack development. Lasting only 88 minutes, it is challenging to make connections with characters with little to no background information. The viewers learn of Sam’s army experience, but not much else about his past or his childhood. Sam barely shows emotions or facial expression. When Bassam introduces Amira, she wants nothing to do with Sam, thus the viewers learn next to nothing about her. The idea of Sam fighting for Amira’s affection seems strange and their romance appears quickly and out of nowhere. In spite of this, their love is another redeeming quality of the film as it was portrayed as genuine and lifelong. Charlie, Sam’s cousin, came out of the blue to be a hero for Sam’s assimilation. The characters do not undergo significant growth throughout the movie. It is difficult for the audience to relate to or experience connections to the characters and subsequently, the film.

Amira & Sam is a short film that captures the action of an army veteran and Iraqi immigrant in a small portion of their lives. It is not the most enticing movie, but the acting, the comedy, and the main theme that love conquers all are positive aspects.

VERDICT : Good
Sam & Amira is not the most enticing movie, but the acting, the comedy, and the main theme that love conquers all are positive aspects.
POSITIVES : Wonderful acting, some good comedy elements.
NEGATIVES : Characters who lack development, script doesn’t hold much substance.