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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
This latest adaptation of "The Diary of Anne Frank" is by the BBC (released in 2008, total running time is 150 mins). The screenplay is by Deborah Moggach, and is directed by Jon Jones. This adaptation is the most faithful to Anne's "Diary of a Young Girl", reflecting the maturing of a young girl under harrowing circumstances, and exploring all her feelings and emotions in a credible manner.

The film stars Ellie Kendrick as Anna Frank, a feisty 13-year-old Jewish girl who finds her world turned upside down when the Nazis invade Holland in 1942. When her older sister, 16-year-old Margot (Felicity Jones) receives a summons from the Nazis to report for deportation, the Frank family, including father Otto (Iain Glen) and mother Edith (Tamsin Grieg) go into hiding in a Secret Annex above Otto's office. They are helped by a group of loyal Gentile friends, namely Miep Gies (Kate Ashfield), Mr Kleiman (Roger Frost), Mr Kugler (Tim Dantay), and Bep Voskuijl (Mariah Gale). The Franks are later joined by the Van Daans, comprising father Hermann (Ron Cook), mother Petronella (Lesley Sharp), and son Peter (Geoff Breton), and soon after by dentist Albert Dussell (Nicholas Farrell).

Living under such constraints puts a lot of stress on the occupants of the Secret Annex, and the story unfolds through Anne's observations (told partly through voiceovers) as the real Anne Frank had made these observations about her life in hiding in her beloved diary. Anne's chafing under the restrictions of living in hiding is credibly portrayed here(especially the conflicts with Mrs Van Daan and Dussell), as is her adolescent angst which comes across most clearly in her tense relationship with her mother, whom Anne felt did not truly understand her, in contrast to her beloved Pim/Dad whom Anne was very close to. The budding romance between Anne and Peter Van Daan is also explored with a great degree of sensitivity, and it is amazing to see these adolescents manage to connect on an intimate level, despite the harrowing circumstances they find themselves in. Anne's heartfelt conversation with her father is one of the most poignant scenes here and Anne's reflections on her parent's marriage is very insightful, especially from one so young. Ellie Kendrick delivers a finely nuanced performance as the adolescent Anne who harbors so many desires and ambitions, hopes for an unfettered and normal life, and the yearnings of a teenage girl. Her intimate observations regarding her body's cycle and all that it signifies are altogether poignant and heartrending to watch.

The sense of fear and danger is palpable from the first moments, and pervades the show. But there are also light-hearted moments to offset the bleak atmosphere, as when Mrs Van Daan refuses to eat cabbage because it gives her gas, and the comical teeth-pulling scene involving a certain fuss-pot and the dentist. But, knowing their final fate (as anyone who is familiar with Anne Frank's story will know) makes this a heartrending watch indeed. This series ends with Anne, her family, the Van Daans and Dussell being led away by the authorities after their hiding place was discovered (they were betrayed, and the identity of the person/s who betrayed them has never been confirmed till today, though there are many books written on the subject and speculations on the identity of the person/s concerned). The fates of all eight Jews in hiding is also revealed.

I would highly recommend this latest adaptation of "The Diary of Anne Frank" to anyone who has an interest in the Holocaust, who has read and loved Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl", and also to teachers of History, may we never forget. There is also a bonus feature which is an interview with Anne Frank's cousin, Buddy Elias.

Note:
I have watched two previous screen adaptations of "The Diary of Anne Frank". The 1959 B&W movie (total running time:180 mins) starring Millie Perkins as Anne Frank and Joseph Schildkraut as Anne's father, Otto. Though this movie was well-acted and credibly portrayed the fears and frustrations of people in hiding, I felt the movie was wanting in terms of being faithful to the original source, i.e. Anne's diary. This movie is not an altogether historically accurate representation of actual events. The Franks had gone into hiding before the Van Daans, but this is portrayed otherwise in the movie. Peter Van Daan [Van Pels] was extremely shy in real life, but his demeanor is portrayed differently here, and his romance with Anne is overly exaggerated in typical Hollywood style. This movie ends with the capture of the Franks' and their friends in hiding.

The second version I watched was "Anne Frank - The Whole Story" (Walt Disney Studio Release 2001 -total running time 189 mins) and is a well-acted and beautifully filmed movie based on Melissa Muller's biography of Anne Frank. The movie was beautifully filmed with great attention to period details and the excellent casting choices made this an engaging viewing experience. Ben Kingsley played the role of Otto Frank and Hannah Taylor-Gordon plays Anne Frank. Her resemblance to the real-life Anne is quite uncanny. Her portrayal of Anne is simply amazing - strong-willed, impetuous, candid, ambitious, and yet, underlying all that fierceness of spirit is a young girl on the brink of womanhood who yearns to be thought of as a woman and not a girl, and longs for freedom and love. This adaptation ends not with the capture of hidden Jews in the Secret Annex, but with the sisters in the Bergen-Belsen camp, and with their deaths.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This 2008 British 5-part miniseries of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK succeeds on so many levels. There is a primal reason why we need to hear this story time after time, and yet hope that we can somehow change the ending...

Anne Frank's wartime diary gave a poignant face to the Holocaust, an event unparalled in the annals of human cruelty. Deborah Moggach (the writer of the Keira Knightley version of PRIDE & PREJUDICE) casts a fresh eye over the original material, stripping away any possible shred of melodrama to reveal even more raw human emotion than seen in other versions of the story.

And newcomer Ellie Kendrick is nothing short of a revelation as Anne. Looking eerily like the real Anne at times, Kendrick brings her vividly to life with all the angst, fear, rage and humour that the role requires. The rest of the cast follows suit. I was especially surprised by how good Iain Glen and Tamsin Greig were as Anne's parents. There's a heartbreaking scene between Anne and her father--missing from other versions of the story--which had me absolutely floored.

It seems that each version of the story brings us closer and closer to the essence of the real Anne. This latest version is refreshing and raw in it's depiction of one of the most fascinating chapters in modern history.

Bonus features will likely include "Rutka: A Diary of the Holocaust" which introduces audiences to Rutka Laskier, a fourteen-year-old Holocaust victim whose own diary--written in the Polish ghetto of Bédzin--was only discovered and published in 2006. This 50-minute doco was part of the UK and Australian DVD releases.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2010
My order of this movie arrived just as my class of 14 year olds were winding up their study of Anne Frank's diary. The timing of its delivery was perfect. I found the BBC's production, set in the family's actual hiding place in Amsterdam, was both accurate and insightful. Students delighted as they recognised dialogue from the diary and I feel the characters of all who hid in the Secret Annex with Anne were both well-rounded and believeable. The film's portrayal of Anne feelings of her journey through adolescence - the discovery of her changing body and her relationship with Peter - managed to shock and intrigue at times. The identity with the students' own adolescent journeys was strong. This identity turned to a unanimous indignation and feelings of injustice about the plight of Anne, her family and others who hid with them for 2 years. The film's realistic depiction of their unexpected betrayal and capature, engendered a curiosity among class members to find out more about the historical circumstances that allowed such hatred to fester.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2011
At first, I didn't think I'd like this film. Although I thought they chose a good look-alike actress to play Anne Frank, I didn't care for the actress's nasally voice (she sounded like she had a clogged nose), which you hear narrated throughout the entire movie. However, the story pulled me in right away and I got over it.

What I liked best about this movie is that you really feel what these characters are going through. These people may have escaped imprisonment at a concentration camp, but they are nonetheless still imprisoned in cramped living quarters with limited freedoms. They aren't allowed to go outside or look outside the window. During long working hours downstairs, they aren't allowed to talk or move around upstairs. To further give you a feel for how claustrophobic the situation must've been, the camera shots are kept mostly tight.

These circumstances would be difficult for any adult to endure, but for an active preteen like Anne Frank, it's especially stifling. It's a shame how she's being denied a real childhood and then, as she's starting to mature into a young woman, having to do so while being trapped in this cage.
But the adults slowly start to crack, too. I thought the actor who played Anne's father did an especially good acting job of trying to keep his composure for everyone else's sake.

This film moves swiftly along and held my interest 'till the very end. The subject matter is depressing, but the people in it try to make the best of a horrible situation. For instance, when they get new neighbors into their already cramped space, Anne gives one young man a tour as if she's giving a tour of a posh hotel rather than a prison.
The ending moved me to the point where I began sobbing into my palms. Of course, I already knew what would happen, but I had gotten attached to these characters and seeing their fate played out like that only reminded me what a tragic waste the holocaust was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
If you buy only one version of The Diary Of Anne Frank, look no further, this is the one! An absolutely fabulous British miniseries that never puts a foot wrong from beginning to end. Shown in five segments, The Diary Of Anne Frank is so captivating, that without doubt, you will view all five in one sitting. It's that good!

Ellie Kendrick is mesmerizing as Anne, and Iain Glen and Tamsin Grieg also deserve the highest of praise, but the whole acting ensemble is wonderful, with characters so well written, and so realistically portrayed, that you will feel that you are there,living on a knife-edge of suspense.

All the heightened emotions of surviving in a cramped hidden apartment, with the threat of discovery, and all but certain death awaiting, are brought to the fore, but there are lighter moments of levity, hope and love, laced among the anger, jealously and frustration. In short, the gamut of emotions brought on by all too human individuals, living under unbelievable constant tension.

You'll smile and frown, laugh and cry, as this nail-biting drama unfolds in an exact replica of the original Frank house. A must-see film, if ever there was one! A stunning production you won't soon forget. Five stars plus!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
I have seen the majority of films and plays of The Diary. I have to say none of them holds a candle to this PBS performance. This was so well acted and so well done, I felt like I was living with them in that closistured annex. The performances by the actors were so true to form. They captured the personalities and nuances of these individuals.

Caught up in events that would ultimately lead to their demise, I can't help but think what type of lives Anne and Margot would have led. They had so much to offer this world. Although Otto Frank lost his family, he had to have been proud of his daughters. I would hope that this film will let people see what happens when bad ideas take hold in the world. And ultimately how they destroy the best and brightest among us. Unfortunately, I don't think the lessons have been learned. Anti-semitism is in full force. A religious ideology is bent on domination and destruction. And no one seems to give a damn. Did Anne Frank and the others die in vain?!?!?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
I've watched much of the Anne Frank video output in the past few months. If I could only watch one, this would be it. The production was outstanding and the casting was perfect.

This version will be most frequently compared to the Disney version of the Anne Frank biography starring Ben Kingsley as Otto Frank. The Disney version is based on an Anne Frank biography and its main advantage is that the story continues after the Germans arrest the people hiding in the "Annexe."

This movie is based on Anne's diary and the story ends when the diary ends -- with the arrest of the Frank family and their compatriots. (Actually, the story is extended slightly to show the actual arrest and then there is a crawl showing the fate of each of the 8 Annexe residents.)

This movie's strong point is superb casting (better across the board than the Disney movie, I thought) and its faithful recounting of the story told in the diary. I showed this movie to a fairly chatty class of high school freshmen who had been marginally interested in the book -- they were totally fixated by this movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2011
I didn't see it mentioned anywhere but there are two versions of this DVD available here on Amazon; the edited version is called 'Masterpiece Theater: The Diary of Anne Frank', which is 1 disc at 100 mins. And the other is just 'The Diary of Anne Frank' with 2 discs at 150 mins. I recommend getting the unedited version (it's about the same price).

This was originally a mini-series produced by the BBC, although I'm not sure why it was presented that way, because the whole thing is only 2 1/2 hrs. The unedited one is the full 5 episodes of the mini-series, and the other one is edited into one movie. This is the best adaptation of the story I've ever seen. They all pretty much look like the real people and the sets are a perfect reproduction of the real annex (the outside scenes were actually filmed in Amsterdame and the inside scenes in London).

I think they really got it right with this one...you should get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2015
I think I have every version of the Anne Frank story on DVD. I wondered why I decided to get still another one, but after it started, I was soon aware of the value that this one brought forth. Firstly, it is a BBC production and everyone has a British accent. That took about 15 minutes to get used to because initially, I did not think it fit. However, all the cast did a great job in their roles so you were comfortable with the interpretation of each character. More personal aspects were brought out in this version than in any previous version, about the personal nature of the family and Anne herself. I believe they followed the full, more recent version of the book for this production. Overall, a wonderful addition to my collection of Anne Frank DVD's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
Of all the dvd versions out there, this one is the most faithful to the actual diary of Anne Frank. It does this by focusing in almost exclusivley on the 2 years in hiding, with only a few flashbacks to happier days, and no coverage of the horrible aftermath. This is a BBC mini-series and so the length of the production is much longer. From what I understand, the version available from Amazon.co.uk is also somewhat longer than the English version. The actress who portrays Anne does an excellent job of capturing her attitude and is very likeable and sympathetic.
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