Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

The Diary of Anne Frank Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Poignant adaptation is still powerful decades later.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Holocaust drama, while not explicitly violent, explores some mature themes about WWII, captivity, and self-preservation, religious persecution, and perseverance. Although many kids have read (or at least heard about) Anne Frank by the time they're in middle school, the movie based on her diary includes some tense and potentially frightening scenes of what life was like for Jews in hiding. Those hiding in the annex bicker, have nightmares, and in the case of Mr. Van Daan, even steal food from each other. There are a couple of disturbing images of armed Nazis and rounded-up Jews, as well as a general sense of foreboding as the Franks and their friends await their inevitable capture. Although the issue of sexuality is rather chaste, Anne and Peter do flirt, share a few stolen kisses, and give each other several longing looks. Ultimately, Anne Frank remains a beacon of hope, an eternal optimist amidst the most horrifying of circumstances.

  • Families can talk about the Holocaust, and how this movie raises issues about the way that families work together (or don't) in times of stress.
  • How could Anne Frank make her famous statement: "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart" in the face of her family's unthinkably difficult situation? Was she being naive, or was she profound beyond her years?
  • In what ways is the Holocaust depicted differently in this Diary of Anne Frank adaptation than in other similarly themed movies?
  • Does the lack of overt violence make the Holocaust seem any less evil or frightening?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Obviously there's an underlying negative message about what happens when a racist, ruthless regime is allowed to deport harmless citizens, but the story of Anne Frank is still a positive one. The Franks and the Dutch friends who help hide them are examples of the perseverance, courage, and remaining hopeful even in a seemingly hopeless situation.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Anne proves that despite horrible circumstances, a young teenager can remain optimistic, loving, and good-spirited. Dutch citizens and Resistance members Miep and Kraler aren't shown often, but they are hiding their Jewish friends in the annex at great personal risk. All of the inhabitants of the annex, especially the Franks, deal with their impossibly difficult situation with grace, rarely complaining, whining, or crying about their situation.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: An overwhelming sense of impending doom creeps up on those hiding in the annex on a regular basis, as they constantly fear being discovered -- especially as a factory worker tries to steal from the office underneath more than once. Disturbing images of what's happening to captured Jews pop up in Anne's mind. Nazis shoot guns in the street below. Loud explosions from an air attack on Holland can be heard/seen from the annex. Tension and foreboding mount as there time in the attic drags on; as all familiar with the story know, there's a tragic ending.

  • sex false2

    Sex: At first Peter and Margot flirt, and later Anne and Peter flirt, cast longing looks at each other, play-fight and eventually share some chaste kisses. Peter's mother implies that a 13-year-old Anne and her 16-year-old are boyfriend and girlfriend. Mrs Van Daan asks Mr. Frank what he thinks about her legs and pecks him uncomfortably on the cheek.

  • language false1

    Language: Mild insults like "shut up," "insufferable and intolerable boy," "you clumsy little fool," and "I could kill you"

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Mrs. Van Daan is a bit obsessive about her possessions, particularly her mink coat. She boasts about her father giving her "the best money could buy."

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Franks, Van Daans, and Mr. Dussell appear to be drinking wine at Hannukkah. Mr. Van Daan smokes a hand-made "cigarette."

Advertisement