Divorced Palestinian single mother (Nisreen Faour, a good actress in bad photography) moves to Illinois for a better life at the worst time — the thick of Operation Iraqi Freedom — and settles for a demeaning job at White Castle ("Support our oops" on the signboard outside), meets a sympathetic Jewish school principal ("You're not at all fat"), and imparts her wisdom to her troubled teenage son ("The important thing is that you can't let anyone question who you are"). Semi-autobiographical work by writer-director Cherien Dabis, didactic and preachy despite the sincerest efforts to maintain a sense of humor. With Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Joseph Ziegler. (2009) — Duncan Shepherd
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