A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Dystopian movie explores themes of the "pecking order" between two families, and compares this to the survival instincts of chickens.
Positive Role Models
Winter has divided people into "assets" and "liabilities, and the other characters struggle to survive and maintain in the midst of societal collapse.
Movie centered on Black family who seek shelter with a White survivalist family hiding in a rural area outside of the city as society begins to unravel. Their youngest son, adopted, doesn't speak, and is believed by some to be either mentally ill or disabled, but according to his parents Greg and Helen, he chooses not to speak.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters shot and killed by assault rifles, including a character getting shot while in their car trying to pull out of their garage -- blood. One man scalds another in the face with liquid metal used to make bullets. Character bludgeoned to death, his head shown beaten bloody. Characters pistol whipped and knocked down. Dead bodies dumped into a van before it's set on fire. One of the lead characters drives down a city street while people riot, loot, and shoot weapons. A man makes unwanted sexual advances to a woman while she's in the shower. Blood during childbirth scene.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women talk about their sex lives, or lack thereof, over a glass of wine, including talk of affairs and the implied penis sizes of their partners.
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"F--k" is used often.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine drinking in one scene. Whiskey drinking in another scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Refugee is a 2021 dystopian action movie in which two families struggle to survive in a bunker in the midst of the breakdown of society in the outside world. Expect violence throughout, including a character getting shot and killed by rioters while trying to leave their garage -- blood splatter across the windshield. Characters shot to death, bludgeoned to death by guns, pistol whipped. Character hit in the face with liquid metal. A van with dead bodies inside is set on fire. A man makes unwanted sexual advances on a woman while she's showering. Profanity throughout, including "f--k" often used. Characters talk of their sex lives, including implications of penis size. Some blood during childbirth scenes. Wine and whiskey drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a typical dystopian film, bringing nothing really new to the table. American Refugee isn't a terrible movie in spite of shortcomings ranging from a limited budget to some bizarre themes concerning the survival instincts and pecking order of chickens. This chicken metaphor defines the story from beginning to end, along with classic dystopian hero/antihero themes of "survival of the fittest," and the conflict that will inevitably emerge between a book-smart college professor and a survivalist veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who got his Master's in The Hard-Knock School of Life.
It's a decent premise, but one that feels unsatisfying. There's the sense that there should be more to this rather than yet another dystopian tale used to explore how, without Goldman-Sachs and/or the National Guard there to keep things civil, we're little more than animals (and chickens at that) fighting for survival while in the throes of an indifferent natural order. The ending in particular seems a little too convenient as a way to drive this point home. It doesn't make this a horrible and unwatchable movie, but it does leave the impression that it could've been a much richer and fully developed world of societal collapse, fights to the death, and, yes, chickens pecking at their feed.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.