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Parents' Guide to

Pursuit of Freedom

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Faith-based trafficking drama has lots of violence, trauma.

Movie NR 2022 93 minutes
Pursuit of Freedom Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Great moving movie!

What a great movie. Very sad story. I'm so glad there are good people out there that help others like the ones that helped Anna.
age 14+
It has some touchy subjects like sex trafficking, gambling, a little violence. Much younger than 14 probably won’t understand. Positive messages, hope, family are present throughout

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Anna's triumphant story is incredible, but subpar filmmaking sinks this well-intentioned drama. Viewers are told it's based on a true story, and elements suggest that the events it depicts are like modern-day miracles. Movies can be a great way for faith-based filmmakers to spread "the word," whether it's about the power of God or the power of our own inner strength. But attempting to turn someone's trauma into entertainment is a huge responsibility: If it's not good, you risk causing further injury. Unfortunately, Pursuit of Freedom is another indignity to Anna and her family, wherever they might be.

Writer-director George A. Johnson's script is poorly written. For starters, while male hero Bedros (Stelio Savante) has a multifaceted character, Anna has one dimension: She's a mother. And while reuniting with her family is the purpose of the film, nearly every sentence spoken by Anna is about her kids. Koloian says the words "my children" in an over-the-top Ukrainian accent so frequently that if this was a bigger release, it would undoubtedly become a meme -- and that's where bad writing becomes reckless. (Exhibit A: 1988's A Cry in the Dark, based on an Australian family's tragedy, where a line about an actual horrific event became the viral punchline "A dingo ate my baby!") Also, there's clearly nothing funny about sex trafficking and children being held in a shack for three years, fearing for their lives. But Johnson tries to lighten things up by including (questionable) jokes about masculinity: One male pastor ribs another who cries tears of joy, and there's a missionary character who seems to be leaning into clichéd portrayals of gay men. It's tonally bizarre and a strange juxtaposition in a movie about a woman who's been so horribly abused by men. Anna, her family, and other trafficking victims deserve better.

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