Immigrant at Home Review


Directed by: #SufianAbulohom

UKFRF Review by: Charlotte Little

Directed by Sufian Abulohom, Immigrant at Home is an earnest documentary about Safa, a first-generation Arab-American exploring her dual identity, while pursuing her dreams of comedy stand-up. Abulohom succeeds at using his own experiences as a first-generation Yemeni living in America to form a connection between the lens and the subject. This documentary isn't a disjointed perspective from the outside looking in, but a genuine insight into Safa's life. The atmosphere of Safa's home life and the presence of Safa's family and friends feels so natural. It's almost like you're there in the room, rather than peering through a screen.  

Immigrant at Home movie poster

The film is threaded with different strands of Safa's daily routine, from dating app swiping with her mother, basketball with her friend, open mic nights, to sessions with her therapist. We see Safa opening up about her father's passing, her co-dependency with her mother, and the guilt she feels for wanting to move out. The strength and closeness of Safa's relationship with her mother trickles throughout, but we still bear witness to Safa's ambitions and humanity. There is no protagonist or antagonist; there is only Safa. 

Because of the sophisticated cinematography and filming angles, it can be easy to interpret Immigrant at Home as a fictional short film, rather than a documentary short. The film has a steady pace, with candid and authentic moments scattered throughout. The ending is poignant, displaying a glimmer of Safa's perseverance and a sense of hope. Immigrant at Home isn't your typical documentary, but it is undoubtedly a story that everyone should pay attention to.