Complex film about family trauma has heavy themes.
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Refuge is a dark, complex indie film about a woman left to raise her younger siblings after their parents abandon them. One of the siblings struggles with a brain injury and the other with self-harm. The film explores dark, heavy themes about grief, loss, abandonment, and depression. Scenes involve casual sex and graphic discussions of sexual behavior, recurrent drinking, teens who smoke weed and take Adderall recreationally, and some minor violence when a guy gets into a fight. It's a complex look at an offbeat family in crisis mode struggling to find their own version of happiness, and though it has some poignant moments and some interesting themes about recovery and loss and defining your own happiness, it's much too mature and graphic for kids.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
Amy (Krysten Ritter) is left to raise her two siblings, Nat (Logan Huffman) and Lucy (Madeleine Martin), after their parents left one day for vacation and never returned. With one sibling struggling with a brain injury and the other acting out to cope, Amy is heartened to meet Sam (Brian Geraghty), a drifter who seems interested in putting down roots. But with so much loss and grief among them and damaged trust, will they be able to create a new idea of family?
Is It Any Good?
REFUGE is a moving testament to the ability to heal from terrible grief and loss. It's beautifully shot, and there's a rough-hewn beauty to watching these characters pick up the pieces and try to trust again and form some semblance of family. Amid the promiscuity, casual drug use, and dysfunction are some deeper, valuable insights about the human condition: Broken people can help heal each other; families have a way of providing stability in spite of their dysfunction and erratic rhythms; and good can come from terrible circumstances. But because it explores these themes through self-destructive behavior, this is strictly a movie for very mature teens or adults who can focus on the beauty that lies beneath.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the drug use in this film. How do characters use drugs in this film, and what purpose do they serve? How do you think drug use changes each character's life?
What message does the film send about family and the good that can come from bad situations? In what way might these characters be better as they are than together with their parents?
In a way, every person in this film is dealing with a different injury. What do you think the film says about how we process loss differently?
- In theaters: January 12, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: March 28, 2014
- Cast: Krysten Ritter, Brian Geraghty
- Director: Jessica Goldberg
- Studio: Strand Releasing
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Pieces of April
Thought-provoking, engaging; mid-teens and older.
Home for the Holidays
Funny, adult look at a dysfunctional holiday.
Brilliant teen-pregnancy comedy, but iffy for kids.
For kids who love dramas
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate