#AnneFrank - Parallel Stories

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
#AnneFrank - Parallel Stories Movie Poster Image
Moving Holocaust docu helps viewers connect to the past.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Young people and future generations need to learn about the Holocaust, even though it's a hard subject -- so that they can  make sure nothing like it happens again, learn about people's capacity for cruelty but also incredible resilience. Never give up hope. When you destroy a person, especially a child, you destroy all possibilities they might have become. Reading Anne Frank's diary, learning her story are effective ways for teens to connect with past.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Anne Frank was an ordinary teen in many ways, but also had remarkable capacity for staying hopeful during trying times. The women who survived Holocaust have been able to pass their stories down to descendants so that they feel connected to the people who are gone, to a huge and tragic event in human history, in a real and personal way. Unnamed modern teen who travels to important locations in various stories models curiosity, empathy, compassion, a thirst for knowledge.


Photos and movie footage show many horrors of the Holocaust, including emaciated and beaten bodies and corpses, bodies and people being dragged and dumped, emaciated sick people stumbling around dazed. Sound effects include gunshots, scary noises. Survivors remember gas chambers, crematoria, hearing batons smashing, being beaten with rubber whips that had iron wire inside, various forms of cruelty and torture. Medical experimentation, especially on twins, is mentioned. Some non-graphic footage of Dr. Josef Mengele with his subjects.


Excerpts read from Anne Frank's diary mention getting her first period, discovering her sexuality, some kisses, romantic feelings.



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few people smoking in vintage movie footage.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that #AnneFrank - Parallel Stories is an emotional documentary about Anne Frank and several women who are the same age as Frank but who survived the Holocaust. It's narrated in English with subtitles for several different languages in interviews. Pictures and movie footage show many of the horrors, including emaciated people and corpses and people and bodies being dragged and dumped in piles or mass graves. Survivors remember atrocities like beatings and torture. "S--t" is heard, and people smoke in vintage film. Excerpts read from Anne Frank's diary mention getting her first period, discovering her sexuality, some kisses, and romantic feelings. It's difficult to watch at times, but messages are ultimately positive about young people and future generations making real connections to this almost unfathomable event, the resilience of the human spirit, the value of knowledge, and the importance of never giving up hope. It should be an effective way for teens to relate to people and events from the past.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

#ANNEFRANK - PARALLEL STORIES features acclaimed actress Helen Mirren in a replica of the room in which Anne Frank hid from the Nazis for two years. From there she reads excerpts from Anne Frank's famous diary, and narrates a young woman's journey through Europe to places important in Anne's story. The young woman, known only as @KaterinaKat, also meets with several women who were born in the same year as Anne Frank but who survived the concentration camps. Through hearing their stories and talking with the survivors' children and grandchildren, and seeing where events took place, she learns details of what Frank likely experienced once her family was discovered and sent to concentration camps.

Is it any good?

This moving and compelling documentary gives teens a gentle but unblinking way to learn about the Holocaust and make personal, emotional connections to the past. In #AnneFrank - Parallel Stories, Helen Mirren does a wonderful job bringing Anne's voice and character to life when she reads excerpts from the famous diary. The well-written narration and Mirren's skill convey facts and events without bogging down or losing any emotional connection to the story.

Teens especially are invited to make personal connections with history through the young traveler known as @KaterinaKat. She never speaks, but her fictional, thoughtful social media posts provide a relatable way for teens to accompany her on her journey. She provides the framework for meeting with survivors, going to actual locations, and reading Anne Frank's diary that help us process the powerful emotions we all feel when we tackle this difficult subject.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the horrors of the Holocaust depicted in #AnneFrank - Parallel Stories. How much did you know about the Holocaust before you saw this? Did you learn anything? How could you learn more?

  • Why is it important to explore and understand the past, especially horrific and violent events? What do we gain from feeling personally connected to the people and events of the past?

  • Did you read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl before you saw this movie? How do the two compare? If you didn't read it, would you like to now?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate