"Run Away" Review Roundup: Refugee Doc is one of the best animated films of 2021 1

Flee is taking flight: the film opens today in U.S. theaters in the wake of a flurry of award nominations.

The film is currently in just four theaters in LA and NYC (AMC Sunset 5, The Landmark, AMC Lincoln Square 13, Angelika Film Center). It will expand to other U.S. cities in January.

The documentary profiles Amin (a pseudonym), an Afghan refugee living in Denmark with his boyfriend. Burdened by trauma, he reveals his life story to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, his longtime friend. Scenes of Amin's present and past lives - all animated - are intertwined with archive footage that provides historical context.

Regular readers will be familiar with the film, which we've been following since it was selected at last year's cancelled Cannes Film Festival. It has had a stellar run since then, winning at festivals such as Sundance and Annecy, and being nominated by Hollywood Critics Association and at the Gotham Awards. It is also Denmark's submission to the Oscars' international feature category.

Flee is released by Neon and Participant. Monica Hellström and two-time Oscar nominee Signe Byrge Sørensen produced the doc via Final Cut for Real, and the co-producers are animation studio Sun Creature (Denmark), Vivement Lundi! (France), Mostfilm (Sweden), Mer Film (Norway), Arte (France), and Vpro (Netherlands). Star executive producers Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are onboard; they also voice characters in the English dub.

Critics agree with award voters, giving the film a very positive reception: it currently has a 98% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what the reviews say:

Vox's Alissa Wilkinson raves about Flee, calling it “perhaps [the year's] best animated film”:

The Associated Press's Lindsey Bahr goes further, calling it “easily one of the best films of the year”:

For A.O. Scott of The New York Times, the use of animation affects the film's tone in an important way:

Joe Morgenstern singles out one impressive scene in his enthusiastic review for The Wall Street Journal:

The A.V. Club's Noel Murray is less gushing, arguing that the different strands of Amin's backstory don't quite tie together into a satisfying narrative: