At times. it gets too obvious and manipulative for my personal taste. But, it's hard to resist a story when it's told this powerfully. Dennis Bots shows a Spielberg-like ability to relate to children, and he crafts a film that is in tune with their sensibilities and perceptions, without trivializing or being dishonest about the tragic period it depicts.
Starts off looking like a light boys' adventure that just happens to take place in Nazi-occupied Holland. The introduction of a precocious new girl changes the dynamic of their friendship as does the growing distance between their families who handle the occupation very differently.
The boys' adventure we started with matures organically into a movie that addresses issues http://letterboxd.com/mharbour/films/diary/