Flee Parent Guide
This compelling and emotional documentary is a powerful depiction of life as a refugee, made more accessible by its animated format.
Parent Movie Review
In 2021, over 82 million people were living as refugees, forced from their homes by war, persecution, famine, climate change, natural disasters, or economic deprivation. The sheer numbers are so overwhelming that it can often be difficult to see refugees as people with lives, dreams, and potential for contributions. By focusing on a single refugee, Flee helps to personalize the crisis.
Flee is the story of Amin Mawabi. Growing up in Afghanistan in the early eighties, Amin lives through tumultuous regime changes and civil wars, sees his father abducted by the police and hs brother nearly conscripted by government troops. The only way his family can enjoy a secure future is to flee the country before things get worse…but finding a new home as a refugee isn’t easy.
This is an unusual documentary in that it is almost entirely animated. Some scenes are pulled from contemporary news footage, but anything involving Amin and his immediate experiences is carefully drawn. The animation is simple, only a few frames per second and heavily stylized, but the simplicity focuses attention on the story and the characters. I think it also makes the film more suitable for a younger audience: While it is still going to be a dark and emotionally difficult film, the stylized quality adds a little distance from the brutal realities of the story.
And it is a brutal story. Amin has experiences which, individually, would be incredibly difficult to overcome – and they just keep coming. Growing up gay in the Middle East, in a warzone, fleeing repeatedly across Europe, being separated from family – things just keep getting worse. It’s an incredible story and well told, and one that is increasingly relevant as refugee populations continue to grow under political and environmental pressures. The world is, put mildly, a catastrophe, and the tragedy of refugee populations is one which is only going to become more urgent. Hopefully, due to its lack of explicit content or profanity, this movie can find a place as a teaching tool in educating older kids and teenagers on the importance of taking in displaced populations. The violence is not gratuitous and Amin’s homosexuality, while part of his life, receives no explicit screen time.
I wouldn’t say this is an easy watch, but it’s incredibly compelling and emotional. More importantly, Amin’s story is a window to an ongoing crisis that those of us in more peaceful nations have a tendency to overlook and ignore. Hopefully, telling that story will help motivate positive action from governments and populations which struggle to understand the scope of the crisis – but, failing that, it should provide viewers with a better understanding of the circumstances which refugees are forced into. If this doesn’t generate some compassion, then I don’t know what will.Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Starring Amin Nawabi, Daniel Karimyar, Fardin Mijdzadeh. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release January 26, 2022. Updated May 31, 2022
Watch the trailer for Flee
Rating & Content Info
Why is Flee rated PG-13? Flee is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic content, disturbing images and strong language
Violence: News footage of bodies, injured people, blood, and burning vehicles is seen. A boy is beaten by police. A man threatens to shoot and elderly woman.
Sexual Content: There is an implied rape off-screen.
Profanity: There are four censored profanities and one use of mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Background characters are briefly seen smoking. Adults are seen drinking socially.
Page last updated May 31, 2022
Flee Parents' Guide
What is your country’s policy for accepting refugees? What kind of conditions are they living in, before and after admittance? How is the refugee crisis seen politically? How are other nations responding? What are some instances of historical refugee crises? How do we view them retrospectively?
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Other films about refugees include Sonita, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Peace by Chocolate, Jasmine Road, The Good Lie, and The Book Thief. A more fictionalized take on the stresses of relocation is His House.