...an instructive, sturdily built drama based on a true story worth teaching...
—Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly
If you think institutional racial prejudice in the South is a thing of the past, American Violet is here to set you straight.
—Peter Rainer Christian Science Monitor
...not blazingly original cinema. Tim Disney's direction and the screenplay by Bill Haney are meat and potatoes, making this story clear, direct and righteous. But consider the story.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times
...has the quasi-documentary feel of a well-made television drama.
—Stephen Holden New York Times
The narrative is infused with chilling facts, and the filmmakers know how to build their case, but a drama demands more. We should have been immersed in Roberts' wrenching journey, not just sitting it out on the sidelines.
—Betsy Sharkey Chicago Tribune
Though it never surprises, much less transcends, in exposing the vile underbelly of Texas justice, the film is more affecting than it ought to be, thanks to a loaded cast that includes Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson, Will Patton, Charles Dutton, and the rapper and sometime actor Xzibit.
—Scott Tobias Onion AV Club
—Betsy Sharkey Los Angeles Times
A docudrama with a good heart but a heavy hand...
—Melissa Anderson Village Voice
...has the necessary anger to engage its subject but also the generic topical-telefilm aesthetics that often render it glib and inauthentic.
—Bill Weber Slant Magazine
—Kyle Smith New York Post