This well-made TV movie is a very moving experience. Seeing in graphic detail how a well-adjusted and endearing teenage girl deals with the horrors of persecution as her family is forced into hiding to avoid the Nazi terror cannot fail to engage the heart and mind. It shows Anne before the Nazi invasion of Holland as a bubbling girl eager for education and socialisation. Her indomitable spirit is well portrayed during her family's long months of hiding in the back of a factory in Amsterdam. Her physical deterioration after her capture is shown graphically, as is her will to survive to make her mark upon the world. Ironically, she did make her mark upon the world posthumously through her diary, the most-widely read work of non-fiction in the world after the Bible.
For me, the virtual incarceration of her family in the factory was very sad and thought-provoking. Taken from their normal lives and stripped of all those things they held dear, Anne's family strives to remain positive of better times ahead. How would we fare if required to give up all that we possessed and go into hiding for fear of our lives? A totally depressing thought, and yet that is what happened to Anne and her family.
The later scenes, after the family was captured, humiliated, separated and sent to concentration camps, is simply tragic.
The fine performances of Hannah Taylor-Gordon in the title role and Ben Kingsley as her father, Otto Frank, deserve special mention, although the entire cast was believable. Hannah Taylor-Gordon's performance was a revelation - she conveyed a range of emotions that superbly captured Anne's spirit and also her human weaknesses.
The movie is not without its weaknesses. It is slow at times and could perhaps been improved by tighter editing, although this may have detracted from the accurate portrayal of the tediousness of living concealed behind closed doors for so long a period.
The concentration camp scenes are disturbing and Anne's gradual physical deterioration is depressing. It is not a movie to entertain but one to stir the emotions and the resolve to ensure that this sort of persecution and genocide is never again allowed to happen.
It is also a depressing reminder that it still is happening in various parts of the world.
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