Picks and Pans Review: Anne Frank
Show of the week
Anne Frank perished at only 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. But her story lives on, thanks to the diary she kept over the two years (1942-44) she and her family spent hiding in Amsterdam. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, a staple of school reading lists, was adapted into a 1955 play (revived and revised on Broadway in 1997), a 1959 feature film and a 1980 TV movie. Yet this two-part drama, based largely on Melissa Muller's 1998 book Anne Frank: The Biography, is anything but superfluous. It serves as a valuable supplement to the diary, both by reconstructing events after the Franks' arrest and by reflecting passages about family discord that her father, Otto, cut from Anne's writings when they were originally published in the late '40s.
Hannah Taylor Gordon (Jakob the Liar), 14, beautifully captures Anne's restless intelligence and independent spirit. When she says, "I long for everything," you'll feel a keen sense of loss for every dream dashed by Nazi genocide. As Otto, Ben Kingsley gives a masterfully nuanced performance that provides a window to the character's emotions even as he holds them in check. Few viewers will be unmoved by the pride Otto takes in dancing with Anne—or the agony he feels at being torn from her by their captors.
Bottom Line: Fitting Holocaust memorial