Jasmila Zbanic's movie won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival this year, but for me it was a disappointment: a movie about postwar Bosnia that relies on melodrama, unconvincing relationships and forced crises that would not be out of place in a soap opera. Mirjana Karanovic gives a sensitive performance as Esma, a Bosnian woman in the Grbavica district of Sarajevo, from which Bosnian Serbs staged a fierce attack at the beginning of the war. She is widowed and almost on the breadline with a troubled teenage daughter. The girl is offered a free place on a longed-for school trip if she can provide an official certificate to prove her father was a war hero. Esma is reticent about producing this certificate, for reasons that are only too painful, though a little predictable. The film fails to deliver convincing personal drama and does not do justice to its historical and political themes.
Esma's Secret: Grbavica review – Bosnia's Berlin winner is a disappointment
A melodramatic soap opera of a film about postwar Bosnia that, despite a sensitive performance from Mirjana Karanovic, doesn’t do itself justice
Peter Bradshaw is the Guardian's film critic