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The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)

In BBC, period drama, Recommendation, Review, series, war on 12/11/2011 at 6:04 pm

This girl from Amsterdam certainly lived on after her unfairly premature death, for much of what we know about what WWII was like for people in hiding in the Netherlands is determined by Anne’s diary. Her story of life in the secret Annex (famously known as Het Achterhuis in Dutch), has been dramatised quite a few times – and I believe this concise but beautifully made BBC miniseries is the best yet.

Indeed, Anne Frank wasn’t at all a pleasant teenage girl. She was self-centred (as many are at that age), spoiled and couldn’t keep a thought to herself. She was also smart, quite funny and a little too ambitious. Whether this interpretation is based on thorough research or the writer’s vivid imagination doesn’t matter much, because it makes this Anne (Ellie Kendrick) very real. Kendrick is a very talented young actress, and perfect for this part because she much resembles Anne Frank and isn’t (no offence intended) too pretty. All the other inhabitants of the Annex are superbly cast, amongst whom Felicity Jones as Anne’s ‘perfect’ big sister Margot, Lesley Sharp as the too extravagant and dominant Petronella van Dam and Tamsin Greig as the silently tormented mother Edith Frank.

Despite the issue of this series completely ignoring the famous chestnut tree that so inspired and soothed Anne from the attic window, it’s a gripping and absolutely very moving watch. I sobbed relentlessly at the end despite knowing what was going to happen – but I was ill at the time and it makes me very emotional. Do let me know if it had the same effect on you.

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