Flee (2021) Review


Kyle Bridston, Writer

A few months ago, I first heard of the movie Flee, and upon watching the trailer, I was ecstatic to watch it. It is an animated documentary which tells the true story of a family in their immigration from Afghanistan to Sweden in the 1990’s, centering on Amin, the youngest of his family and the main narrator of the film. His personal connection to the story causes it to be more emotionally charged and creates more sympathy for Amin and his family’s struggles. As he retells the story, his pain and fears are reflected through his voice, and this, combined with the animation, results in a more emotional and personal film. Rather than using disturbing statistics about immigration and the situation in Afghanistan at the time that the film was based in, Flee uses this very personal story and animation to effectively draw attention to the harshness behind war and immigration.

Flee is one of the most impactful documentaries I have seen, and it may have been one of the best films from last year. It brings a great depth to the topic of immigration by following a family as they flee from their country; rather than focusing on cold statistics, it brings the story to life, and the audience almost becomes a witness to the cruelties and injustices this family faces. We see their fears, dreads, and pain as they make the journey, all of which is heightened by the fact that it is animated. In the case of Amin, we even see him in the present as he struggles to cope with his past traumas. The film also occasionally uses real footage to provide some historical context on the events depicted and to prove the accuracy of the events depicted. This combination of animation and real footage makes the film all the more realistic, and therefore more disturbing.

From the beginning to the end of Flee, I was fully invested in the story and it will continuously be relevant. It contains many themes and plot points that are relatable for immigrants, especially with Amin’s life in the present. Him retelling his past through the film is a way for him to face and cope with it, and his past is also one of the driving forces in his life. He, for one, feels pressure to be successful because of all that his family went through for him, which also results in him having issues with his relationships, like what is seen with his husband in the movie. Their relationship is somewhat strained throughout the movie, partially because of the fact that Amin travels a lot for his job, and also because Amin still has unresolved traumas related to his immigration experience. The theme of identity is also significant in his story, for his identity is one of the struggles he faces throughout the film.