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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this program provides an emotional and educational experience that parents and their older children can share, but families may want to discuss beforehand what they know of the Holocaust, and the types of images the video is likely to show. Young viewers may be frightened by the chilling descriptions of the Holocaust. Although intensely emotional, the stories of survival under the most abominable of conditions are well worth hearing for those with a budding interest in the subject. Highly encouraged for anyone who's read -- or is interested in reading -- Anne Frank's famous diary, this documentary gives a human face to one of the greatest atrocities of our time.
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What's the story?
Through interviews with schoolmates, relatives, camp survivors, and the family's heroic protector, Miep Gies, this documentary completes the story of young Anne Frank and her desperate last days. Archival footage and photographs punctuate their incredible stories of loss and survival. "She is perhaps Hitler's best-known victim. Her book has sold more than 25 million copies and has been translated into at least 55 languages." So begins this deeply affecting account not just of the tragedy that befell Anne Frank and her family, but also of the lives of millions of Jews stamped out during the German death marches of World War II.
Is it any good?
Director Jon Blair (returning to familiar territory following 1982’s Schindler) exercises integrity and restraint in the making of this difficult picture, a Best Documentary Feature Oscar winner. Kenneth Branagh's narration is straightforward, as are Glenn Close's off-camera readings from the now-famous diaries. Neither actors "perform" here; they're doing a job, and they do it with simple dignity.
No attempt is made to sensationalize the accounts of those whose lives touched Anne Frank's. The stories spoken by survivors and relatives (among them Anne's beloved father Otto, from an earlier interview) generate enough pain and drama for several movies. The video provides an emotional and educational experience that parents and their older children can share, but families may want to discuss beforehand what they know of the Holocaust, and the types of images the video is likely to show.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 11, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: April 22, 1997
- Cast: Glenn Close, Joely Richardson, Kenneth Branagh
- Director: Jon Blair
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, History
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity
- Run time: 117 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mature themes
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