Kidnapping Stella

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Kidnapping Stella Movie Poster Image
Violent German thriller is exciting but predictable.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 


Movie centers on the abduction of a woman off the street by two men who take her to an abandoned apartment building and tie her to a bed in a soundproof bedroom, gagged except for when they give her water or food. One of the assailants takes a bolt cutter to her finger and threatens to cut it off while making a video to the father of the kidnaped woman. Characters shot and killed. Fighting with punches and kicks. One of the kidnappers sits in her bed and moves his hands close to her body as if he's considering fondling her breasts. 


Brief nonsexual nudity, female buttocks. 


Infrequent profanity. "F--k," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "goddamn." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Some beer drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kidnapping Stella is a 2019 German thriller in which two men abduct a wealthy young woman off the street and hold her for ransom. For much of the movie, the woman, Stella, is tied to a bed and gagged. When first tied to the bed, the men who kidnapped her snip off her clothes with scissors while she screams, before putting her in a red tracksuit. One of the assailants, while making a video to be sent to Stella's father, uses bolt cutters and threatens to cut off Stella's finger if he doesn't pay the ransom. In another scene, one of the assailants sits in her bed and silently moves his hands as if he's going to fondle her breasts. Characters shot and killed. Fighting with punches and kicks. Brief, nonsexual nudity: female buttocks. Infrequent profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t." Cigarette smoking. This is a remake of the 2009 British thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byiRateBadMoviesOnly July 25, 2019

ANNOYING SCREAMING seems to be the headliner.

To be frank The movie trailer intrigued me and I initially found myself pretty excited to watch it. That changed probably quicker than any movie ever has for me... Continue reading
Adult Written byMasonmurray November 28, 2019

Horrendous and annoying

The film is full of high pitched annoying whaling and screaming. Don’t waste your time
Teen, 15 years old Written bytiararegulus July 19, 2019

What's the story?

Two ex-cons, Vic and Tom, have planned in great detail the abduction of Stella, a wealthy young woman, in the hopes of extorting her wealthy father for a ransom in the millions. In masks, they kidnap her off the street in an industrial zone, throw her in the back of their stolen van, and take her to a dilapidated apartment high-rise. In one of the apartments, Stella is taken into a soundproofed bedroom, tied to the bed, and gagged. While their plan is detailed and seemingly foolproof, Vic and Tom soon find that it won't be as simple as they had hoped. Stella's father initially refuses to pay the ransom. Tom seems to be losing his nerve. Vic grows increasingly suspicious of Tom. And there's more to Stella than what Tom had initially told Vic when the two planned the kidnapping while still in prison. As more information is revealed and the three move ever closer to exchanging Stella for the millions in cash, Stella must find a way to use what little leverage she has to turn Vic and Tom against each other, and not get hurt or even killed in the process. 

Is it any good?

This is an engaging thriller, even as you have the feeling that so much of this has been done before. Kidnapping Stella begins with the shopworn montage of the bad guys buying then installing all the equipment they need to pull off their crime. Then, a step-by-step of how the abduction of the titular character is undertaken. There's the "alpha" bad guy and the bad guy who seems like he's getting cold feet. The severing, or threat of severing -- in this case, with bolt cutters -- of a body part in order to prove to the rich person being extorted that the bad guys mean business. The expected problems that poke holes in the seemingly foolproof plan. 

And yet, there are some twists to the story that work. The film's basic minimalist structure of three characters and sparse dialogue heightens what suspense emerges out of all these thriller tropes. The acting of the three performers reveals a nuance that grows in complexity as more information is revealed about their relationships and back stories. It doesn't break any new ground, but the film's final moments are completely riveting. Overall, Kidnapping Stella is a decent, if not particularly original, thriller. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about thrillers. How does Kidnapping Stella use violence, or the threat of violence, to create suspense? 

  • Does this movie glorify violence or the planning of elaborate crimes? Why or why not?

  • Is the lead female character presented in a degrading manner, or is she shown as someone capable of fighting back? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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