Dara of Jasenovac

Movie review by
Sabrina McFarland, Common Sense Media
Dara of Jasenovac Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Young girl faces violence and horror during the Holocaust.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Faith in the face of adversity. Strength and support among siblings. Compassion and comfort in a crisis.

Positive Role Models

Women speak words of comfort to each other and their kids on the train to and in the Jasenovac concentration camp. Dara’s mother tells her daughter that should something happen to her, Dara needs to be brave since she's a big girl. Dara develops a friendship with a young woman prisoner, who offers the 10-year-old guidance and support. Dara watches the camp’s children while their mothers do chores. She also shares an apple with her younger brother who is recovering from a fever. Dara comforts her brother with encouraging words about their future. A son embraces his mother with a hug after the stillborn birth of her child.


Soldiers shoot prisoners who resist orders or try to escape. Prisoners are threatened to be killed by soldiers if they don’t surrender possessions such as money, jewelry, and tobacco. Older and ill people who don't board the train for the concentration camps are killed by soldiers. Rifles and guard dogs are used to control prisoners. Prisoners engage in a deadly game of musical chairs and must secure a seat when the music stops or be killed. Dara sees a man’s throat cut for failing to find a chair. Other men are murdered with either a knife or mallet. Dead bodies are seen floating in water and thrown into graves dug by prisoners. A woman is kicked by soldiers for stealing food. Kids are forced into a basement to die. Images of a swastika.


A man and woman soldier engage in sex in a car. Scenes of urination.


Soldier calls an older woman an "old girl" and "old lady." Another woman is referred to as a "whore" by a soldier. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Soldiers drink and eat while concentration camp prisoners watch and play musical instruments. Camp guards smoke cigarettes while watching prisoners.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the film Dara of Jasenovac is a Serbian drama with English subtitles. It's reportedly based on historical accounts from Holocaust survivors. The movie focuses on the life of a 10-year-old Serbian girl named Dara Ilić (Biljana Čekić) at the Croatian concentration camp Jasenovac. Soldiers shoot prisoners who resist orders or try to escape. Prisoners are threatened by soldiers for not surrendering possessions such as money and jewelry. Prisoners engage in a deadly game of musical chairs and must secure a seat when the music stops or be killed. Men are seen killed with a knife or mallet. A woman is kicked by soldiers for stealing food. Dead bodies float in a river and are tossed in graves dug by prisoners. A man and woman soldier have sex. A woman is referred to as a "whore" by a soldier. There's drinking and smoking, scenes of urination, and images of a swastika. Dara of Jasenovac includes the powerful themes of compassion, courage, and perseverance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDana2016 April 17, 2021

Een "must" om een beter inzicht te krijgen van de gebeurtenissen jaren 90.

Het is zwaar om te kijken maar nog niet de 10% van de gruwel die daar in de NDH ( Onafhankelijke staat Kroatie ) is gebeurd, voornamelijk in Jasenovac (800 000)... Continue reading
Adult Written byAnaMarie February 26, 2021

Important lesson on Holocaust

Dara is a documentary drama that tells the story of a young girl caught in the Horror of a Holocaust in fascist Croatia. It’s an emotional story of children in... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymilijana15 May 13, 2021

loved it

shows what really happened

What's the story?

During World War II, Dara Ilić (Biljana Čekić), a 10-year-old Serbian girl, her mother, and two brothers are detained at a Croatian concentration camp known as Jasenovac. Her father is sent to a camp designated for men. Dara witnesses violence and endures the hate expressed toward her by camp officials. With words of encouragement from her mother and other prisoners, Dara is determined to find a way to freedom.

Is it any good?

Serbian movie director Predrag Peter Antonijević delivers a moving and often violent view of a Croatian concentration camp during World War II. As the young prisoner in Dara of Jasenovac, Čekić is convincing as a child exposed to the camp’s crimes against humanity. She also embraces the unexpected role of caring for a younger brother, assuring him that "no one can separate us." Now 80 years later, this first-ever feature about the history of the Jasenovac camp may prove to be an essential educational and teaching tool for further discussions about the Holocaust.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the courage of Dara at the concentration camp. How does she also demonstrate compassion and perseverance?

  • Why does Dara believe it's important not to become separated from her younger brother? How significant can a bond be between siblings?

  • How does encouragement from Dara’s mother inspire her daughter? Why does Dara’s father feel it's necessary to reunite with his family?

  • What could be the director’s justification for depicting the brutal violence by soldiers against prisoners? How may such scenes impact a viewer?

  • What is the link between the phrase "Never Forget" and the Holocaust? What is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and its significance?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

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