Refusenik (2008)

Historically speaking, documentarist Laura Bialis' nonfiction effort Refusenik marks one of the first cinematic attempts to chronicle the decades-long liberation of Soviet Jews, from the early years of the 20th century through the end… More

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Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: May 9, 2008
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Critic Score: 91% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Dennis Harvey

One credits their naivete as the best tool to change history, as, because of it, they refused to cave in to excuse-making politicians and initial indifference in the Jewish-American community.

Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times

Packed with an extraordinary amount of archival material, the film offers a fascinating, if occasionally dense look at a grass-roots movement that became the world's chance to retroactively fight Hitler's Holocaust.

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Sarah Boslaugh

A conventional but generally well-made documentary about Jewish refuseniks

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Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune

There are fascinating archival clips that show rare glimpses of early years of struggle behind the Iron Curtain, while the story eventually moves through such momentous footage as the Helsinki Accords and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly

[An] absorbing portrait of the refusenik movement of the 1960s and '70s.

Matthew Nestel
Boxoffice Magazine

Neat and nice is good for textbook supplements, but aren't gonna cut it cinematically when the story itself is the only thing going.

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Ty Burr
Boston Globe

The result is a documentary that plays like a fat, satisfying work of nonfiction literature -- the final word because it seems to contain every word.

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Laura Kern
New York Times

Refusenik falls short as entertainment because of the plodding, overly studious approach of the director, Laura Bialis.

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Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Daily News

[Director] Bialis chronicles all this with perhaps too much thoroughness. But, given the nature of the subject, you get the sense that she doesn't want to leave out any voice, no matter if they add little in the way of new information.

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