FLEE (2021) – My rating: 9/10

A group of animated people.

Flee (Danish: Flugt) is a Danish animated docudrama directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. It follows the story of a man called Amin Nawabi (not his real name), who shares his hidden past of fleeing his country for the first time. Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau serve as executive producers. An animated documentary telling the true story about a man’s need to confront his past in order to truly have a future. Amin arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Denmark from Afghanistan.  I have never seen an animated film like Flee.  Despite the sad and rough subject, I loved the storytelling and the outcome.

The film follows Adult Amin Nawabi (Amin Nawabi), Young Amin Nawabi (Daniel Karimyar), and Teenage Amin Nawabi (Fardin Mijdzadeh), who, on the verge of marrying his husband, shares his story for the first time about his hidden past fleeing his home country of Afghanistan to Denmark as a refugee. The experiences he went through were frightening, at best.  Man can be and often is our worst enemy!

Flee is so intimate and so moving, I cannot justify revealing any of Amin’s story.  I applaud him for his heroics and the principles that got him through the toughest times of his life.  Fleeing a war-torn country for anyone is not easy.  Amin left behind precious family and friends and harbors guilt for leaving them behind.  Mostly, he had a secret that would have gotten him killed if anyone knew.  Kudos to Amin for having the guts to see his escape through.  Having Amin tell his story via animation is a brilliant idea that worked well for such a private affair.

Flee received critical acclaim, with Sundance juror Kim Longinotto calling it “an instant classic” at the festival’s awards ceremony. It holds a 98% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 172 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.50/10. The critic’s consensus reads “Depicting the refugee experience through vivid animation, Flee pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking to present a moving memoir of self-discovery.”  Parasite director, Bong Joon-ho, listed Flee as one of his favorite films of 2021 and wrote a letter dedicated to the movie calling it “The most moving piece of cinema I saw this year.”  Flee is streaming on Hulu — Check It Out!

[FLEE is Oscar-nominated at the 94th Academy Awards for BEST: Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, and International Feature Film — Totaling 3 Oscar Nominations]


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