Midnight Traveler has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis. There are many thousands of families out there just like Fazili’s, seeking shelter from a never-ending storm. The film makes them visible.”
"A remarkable achievement... [An] affecting, essential documentary... The suffering, fear and humiliation that they experience is balanced by moments of warmth and an artist’s magpie eye for unexpected glimpses of beauty... Any hint of migrant story fatigue in audiences is likely to dissolve in the face of the disarming appeal of this family. And while there have been numerous documentaries which deal with the plight of asylum seekers, there have been few which have shown, with this level of intimacy, the journey of a family from certain danger to an uncertain fate… It’s a film which deserves to be as widely seen as possible... Given the limitations of filming just on phones, the look of the film is frequently striking."
"A valuable, first-hand refugees’ story... Full of social and political urgency... A family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative."
“What makes Midnight Traveler so moving is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections, and their daughters, who, in a way, are the stars… A languid, poetic film… It is hard not to forget that Midnight Traveler is a film of life or death, which Gretchen Jude’s score constantly reminds, and which infuses tension into the narrative’s nooks and crannies… Midnight Traveler, rather, is a film about a family, about the hardship and inhumanity they have endured, about their bravery, about their love, about their hope, and, above all else, about their desire to be safe and in control of their lives and bodies and destinies and fates.” (Grade: A-)
"Midnight Traveler is bound to be one of the festival circuit’s most discussed pictures this year… A deeply humanistic, intimate family portrait, Midnight Traveler is all the more impressive for being made while the filmmaker was surrounded by high-stakes risks at every turn."
"Midnight Traveler is a powerfully personal look at a family on the run... [A] uniquely intimate nonfiction road movie... This is a unique feature that stands apart from all the other 'important' works covering the stories of migrants... This is an important film. In its intimate depiction of asylum seekers traversing the globe. In the home-movie road-movie dramatic adventure of it all. In the way the story ends but isn’t over. And in its significance to documentary film and filmmaking, both as a mode of reportage and expression and as a display of its own craft and choices. It’s surely the most powerfully purgatorial nonfiction feature to come out of political penalty… Midnight Traveler is nevertheless a masterpiece, too."
Christopher Campbell, Nonfics
"A work of uncommon immediacy and raw emotional power... Beautiful and frightening. Midnight Traveler offers a profound exploration of the human condition... Throughout, we remain transfixed by the direct truth of the experiences we witness. This is cinema, and when it’s over, though we rejoice at some kind of resolution, we miss our time with these fascinating, vibrant souls."
“An intimate and ongoing study in which the family have complete agency, lending the film an additional ring of truth… The family show a fearlessness in their willingness for emotional moments to be recorded… This is a contemplative consideration of what it means emotionally to undertake this type of journey… A well-crafted call for compassion.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
“An immersive (and impressive) immigration doc… Midnight Traveler takes things to the next level... The film is a jaw-dropping, heart-pounding documentary about one family's immigration crisis that brings new depth to the term ‘immersive’... While these stories are often retold by Western journalists, Hassan and his cellphones have allowed for an impressive, unfiltered firsthand account… Along the way, we meet the Fazili family and uncover just how charming they really are. Because of the cellphone footage, the film's panic and feeling of intimacy are both amplified… Midnight Traveler feels particularly important because of just how relatable the family is… Midnight Traveler feels like it could actually change minds. After all, it feels like even the most bigoted, closed-minded, anti-immigrant viewer would have trouble resisting the Fazili's charms.”
One of "The 10 best movies the Tribune’s movie critic saw at Sundance.” “Every moment is riveting.”
“Perseverance and pluck are shown in abundance in Midnight Traveler, Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili’s harrowing and ultimately inspiring first-person account of traveling the refugee trail to the European Union… Midnight Traveler puts a human face on the plight of migrants, and puts the lie to the hateful demonization of immigrants everywhere. Here’s hoping the people who spout such hatred would watch this moving story and allow themselves to be moved by it.” (3.5 out of 4 stars)
“They instinctively know when and how to pull out their phones, and what makes for a captivating shot. This is a first-person account of statelessness made with an eye for striking scenes — not something that could have been put together by anyone who cribbed material from publicly available news sources… Alienation and uncertainty are built into the tone of the film, and the look of a mobile phone camera accentuates this feeling…”
"An important documentary... The fact that the filmmakers built their own mobile editing studio in Germany shows the type of care that went into telling this story. It’s a powerful story that needs to be told." (4 out of 5)
"There are many films about the current refugee crisis but I’ve not seen a documentary quite as intimate as this one… Fazili and his wife are both filmmakers, so they have filmmakers’ eyes. They catch moments of true cinematic beauty, but these moments stand out as grace notes to an otherwise harsh existence.”