A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Friendship can be stronger than ideology. Children can rise above their parents' prejudices. Grown-ups can be bullies. Prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance are widespread, but good people fight against them. Courage and integrity are important themes.
Positive Role Models
Tuur loves his best friend Lambert even though Lambert's father is a Nazi. When he learns a new girl at school is a Jew in hiding, he courageously tries to protect her from the collaborating Nazis who run his village. Lambert helps Resistance fighters escape even though his own father reports such people to the Nazis.
Violence & Scariness
The threat of violence hangs over this movie. We see German soldiers storming homes and dragging Resistance members out. We see those soldiers cart off a couple harboring a Jewish girl. Tuur and his family are chased by Nazis through the nighttime countryside when they are exposed as Resistance fighters. School-age bullies physically abuse a clubfooted boy.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secrets of War is a Dutch, English-subtitled film set during World War II that depicts a child's-eye view of war. Most of the violence is implied as Nazi soldiers round up and arrest Resistance members and Jews. People are seen running in fear from men in German uniforms. A child's arm is shown dropping a teddy bear from a deportation train; parents may decide to explain to older kids that the trains are carrying Jews to concentration camps. Kids too young to understand the complexity of prejudice, totalitarianism, and wartime occupation will nevertheless recognize jealousy and bullying by both the children and Nazis in the film. The movie has strong messages of courage and friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film movingly depicts how war shatters the innocence of two friends divided by their parents' conflicting allegiances. Secrets of War subtly compares the exclusionary behavior and misunderstandings of childhood to the same actions magnified in adulthood. Director Dennis Bots illuminates the way bullying turns into totalitarianism and how ignorance transforms into murderous nationalism. This is an intense look at war through a child's eyes; older kids and parents will find lots to discuss and may be inspired to learn more about the topic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.