ADHD Movie Review: Defiance

Posted on by Kevin.

This post is written by a sophomore student who is part of my homeschool group. He watched the movie, Defiance, which details the struggles of a Jewish family who save others from the clutches of the Nazis and fight back. The young man who wrote this, DJ, told me, “This is a movie that every ADHDer should watch.” I then assigned him to make that case in writing. Please give him your feedback in the comments section.

Defiance is a movie about the Four Bielski Brothers, Tuvia, Zus, Asael, and Aron and how they do the seemingly impossible. The four Bielski Brothers are on the run and hiding in the deep forests of German-occupied Poland and Belorussia. While they are hiding they must learn and teach other Jews how to forage for food and weapons so they can survive as a group. The four brothers along with the large group of fleeing Jews make a small village in the woods and hide in small makeshift huts in the cold, unforgiving forest. Tuvia, the eldest brother, takes the roll of camp leader and assigns everyone job in the camp. One of the other brothers Zus, goes to fight against the Germans when he gets tired of Tuvia’s rules and orders. Zus later joins the Russian Resistance, that believes Jews don’t fight back. Tuvia welcomes any survivor into his camps while Zus and the Russian resistance work to sabotage enemy posts, trains, and caravans. Later in the movie when winter time comes around Tuvia becomes ill with some lung sickness and battles to keep control of the camp. The camp is slowly falling apart as they are running out of food and more and more people are starving and becoming sick. When spring finally arrives, after a wretched and harsh winter, a woman becomes pregnant and later gives birth to a baby against Tuvia’s commands. This event is symbolic of how life flourished in this desperate situation. Soon after this joyous event, however, one morning Tuvia spots planes flying overhead and moments later the planes return to bomb the camp. After the bombing ceases, the armed infantry moves in to finish the job. The Jews and the brothers are pushed up against a swamp and are forced the swim across. When they get to the other side they are greeted by more armed infantry and tanks. After a hard fought battle, and many casualties, they manage to destroy the tanks and survive. They go on to survive many more years by living off the land. The film highlights the fact that many Jewish people did take up arms against the Germans and bravely resisted.

I think that anyone with ADHD would enjoy watching the movie Defiance because it keeps you constantly engaged; there is never a dull moment throughout the entire movie. The movie incorporates heartache, joy, and some humor and always kept changing so it was easy for me to keep paying attention. The movie’s fast-paced action prevented me from getting bored quickly or losing focus. I enjoyed how this movie was not a documentary but yet it told a true story; I thought that it told the story in a dramatic and in-depth way without making it a dry documentary. The movie told the story in a fast paced yet deep and memorable way.

I think that this movie is great for anyone with ADHD to view because while this movie keeps you engaged with tons of action it is also teaching you about a historic event, and sometimes for people with ADHD it is hard to learn about history through reading or listening to a teacher talk. Watching this movie offers an easier way to learn about historical events. And it doesn’t hurt that the title of the movie is DEFIANCE, because people ADHD are often naturally defiant, and so something really deep within us feels connected to this film. Defiance, as this movie shows, can sometimes be a good thing!

Further, I think that the Bielski brothers had a lot of traits that ADHD people commonly have. First of all, all three brothers seem very at home and comfortable in the woods. They are outdoorsmen, and seem more in their element in the outdoors, which is where most of the movie takes place. Also, the brothers, like many people with ADHD, are not afraid to take risks or to try new things. This is made obvious when the brothers attack a police station to disable radio communications, and when they attack German supply and communication lines. The Bielskis also seem to know how to perform under pressure, which is also true for a lot of people with ADHD, which is why jobs like emergency room doctors and demolition experts are very interesting to people with ADHD. Both the way the film is structured and the traits of the main characters make Defiance a movie that no person with ADHD will want to miss.


  1. Your review was very insightful, especially regarding the ADHD traits that very likely were responsible for these men to survive like they did. You also bring up a good point about the fact that there were Jews who fought back against the Germans, but we don’t hear much about that in our history.

    Posted on by Peggy K
    • DJ: Thank you for your comment. I need all the support I can get!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  2. Well done! Thank you DJ, you described Defiance’s synopsis perfectly! This is not an easy thing to do with so many twists and turns and constant action. Your writing made me want to watch this film! I couldn’t agree more with your statement on “real life” stories being delivered this way, as opposed to in a history book or lecture as being a great learning tool for those with ADHD. Thanks again, I learned something new and you reminded me that a little defiance can sometimes be a good thing!

    Posted on by Lauren
    • DJ: Thank you. And yes, I agree that a little defiance can sometimes be a good thing, but the Bielski borthers had a lot of defiance! 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  3. Thanks for an informative review. I appreciate your insight as to the audience that might enjoy this film. Keep the reviews coming!

    Posted on by Karen
    • This is from DJ: Thank you. Keep your comments coming. I appreciate your support.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)

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