on 10 January 2009
After the first episode of this I began to look forward to it every night. I've read The Diary of a Young Girl several times over the years and each time I was surprised again by the intelligence, insight and sparkling humour of such a young woman in such difficult circumstances. I was really hoping that this new dramatisation would reflect that, and I wasn't disappointed.
Ellie Kendrick's portrayal of Anne was brilliant - certainly worth an award or two - and the ensemble cast around her very much fitted how I had imagined her family and the Van Daans from her descriptions. The humour and the happiness was inspiring and uplifting, whilst at the same time the adaptation doesn't shy away from the terror of the situation. The bombing going on around the house was well done - and something I hadn't really been able to imagine in reading the book - and the grittier scenes were skilfully handled (Mrs Van Daan's nervous stomach when the burglars are in the house was hideously realistic).
If this dramatisation connects more young people to Anne's diary and provides a sparkling and lively viewing experience, yet also inspires a few people to go out and learn more about the atrocities that took the lives of the Franks and so many more besides, then it has done an admirable job.
on 22 December 2008
I was lucky enough to see an early version of this and being such a fan of previous adaptations this one simply blows them all out of the water.
This is the kind of drama that the BBC seems to do best, and being able to actual shoot scenes around Anne's actual house in Amsterdam made it all the more authentic. The performances are exceptionally good especially Ellie Kendrick who gives an honest portayal of the central character and Iain Glen & Tasmin Grieg as her parents.
I'll certainly be buying this DVD when it's released
on 28 May 2016
There are quite a few versions of this doing the rounds, but I feel that this is the best one to date. It's not the first time the BBC have dramatised this tragic true account of Anne Frank. Back in 1987, there was a version staged as a play, with Katherine Schlesinger in the lead role. It went out on Sunday evenings, at teatime, but, somewhere in the back of my mind, I think they repeated it. But, that would be a long time ago now! So, to this version. This may also have been repeated, only once after its original broadcast, and I used to rush home from work to watch it, as it went out over five consecutive evenings. This production has been very well cast, and brings Anne's diary to life, from the day they went into hiding, to the day they were betrayed. The sets have been beautifully recreated, and I must issue a mascara alert for the end of the last episode! It'll make you cry! The significant events from the diary have been chosen with great consideration, and it shows in the final result. In another version, Ben Kingsley plays a wonderful Otto Frank, but, a word of warning...that adaptation goes beyond the time in hiding, and ventures into her experiences of concentration camp life, which could be quite distressing for some viewers. If you're interested, the documentary, 'Anne Frank Remembered' featuring the late Miep Gies, who has since passed on, is definitely worth a look, as are the books The Secret Life Of Otto Frank and Roses From The Earth, both by Carol Lee, which are very good. The former was fascinating, as it mentions all of the red tape involved in bringing the diary to broadway, and the big screen. I won't spoil it for you! Another book worth reading is The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank. The author's name I forget, but it's like an alternate ending, if Peter Van Pels had hidden ,and survived, and you see the events of the years that follow through his eyes, and how he keeps his true identity a secret. Basically, I couldn't fault it, and Ellie Kendrick turns in a stellar performance as Anne, with the right balance of youthful optimism and maturity, qualities I'd imagine Anne Frank to possess in abundance, for there's no way she could write in the insightful way
that she did. I believe the fascination with the diary isn't the diary as such, but more the unfortunate fate of its owner. This is a fitting tribute to a potentially great writer, whose life was tragically cut short. Just brilliant!
on 28 August 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed this. A few negative reviews, apparently some thought she came across as a spoilt brat. She was a teenager so she probably was a bit of a brat, but I think it shows her and the others warts and all, and you can still empathise with them and the dreadfully stressful time it must have been for all of them.
I've never been able to finish the book. I got part way through the final chapter and had to put it down unfinished. She didn't die then you see. I've watched this once and I know that I will again because it was such a great portrayal all round. Hard to say that I enjoyed it. It's not the sort of subject you can say that you enjoyed reading about or watching, but I was drawn in and I did empathise with them all. So sad that Anne and her sister should both have died when the end of the war was within touching distance.
on 12 January 2009
This is an outstanding drama from the BBC. I loved every episode, and even though I had already read the diary more than once, I came away from this series wanting to read everything I could get my hands on about this delightful, sparkly, gritty young girl.
Of course, everyone knows the story, so it would be pointless to review that. But one of the reasons that Anne's diary is so popular is that it works so well not only as a portrait of what life was like under the Nazis, but, more, that it is a hugely and painfully accurate account of adolescence under a microscope. Everything, from her raw infatuation with Peter, to her budding self-exploration and her tempestuous relationship with her mother, is heightened and emphasised by the effects of the strain in the Annexe. This is what makes the story so gripping.
The series is very accurate: I have watched documentaries and read biographies on both Anne and her father Otto, and the BBC draw well from them. Even the clocktower outside the attic window is the real clocktower that Anne delighted in so much.
As for characterisation: yes, yes and double yes! The only criticism I would have, as I read in another review, is that sometimes you have trouble believing that these characters are Dutch Jews and not British. Mr Van Daan especially almost sounds cockney at times. Ellie Kendrick, however, is superbly sparky as Anne, and Nicholas Farrell is outstanding as the uptight and tortured, yet ultimately thoughtful, Mr Dussel. I am sure both will win awards. Mrs Van Daan is also well drawn; her shame when she can't control her bowels during the burglary is very well done.
To sum up, I can't recommend this enough. It is the best film on Anne Frank I have seen. It could perhaps have been longer, but at 2 and a half hours it is already plenty long enough for most!
Well done, BBC!